EnglishEdit

 
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Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

14th century. From Middle English cifre, from Old French cyfre, cyffre (French chiffre), ultimately from Arabic صِفْر(ṣifr, zero, empty), from صَفَرَ(ṣafara, to be empty). Doublet of zero. Sense 9 may be a different word.[1]

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

cipher (plural ciphers)

  1. A numeric character.
  2. Any text character.
    • 1614, Walter Ralegh [i.e., Walter Raleigh], The Historie of the World [], London: [] William Stansby for Walter Burre, [], OCLC 37026674, (please specify |book=1 to 5):
      This understanding wisdom began to be written in ciphers and characters and letters bearing the forms of creatures.
  3. A combination or interweaving of letters, as the initials of a name; a device; a monogram.
    a painter's cipher, an engraver's cipher, etc.
  4. A method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning.
    The message was written in a simple cipher. Anyone could figure it out.
    • 1724, [Gilbert] Burnet, [Gilbert Burnet Jr.], editor, Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. [], volume (please specify |volume=I or II), London: [] Thomas Ward [], OCLC 863504080:
      His father [] engaged him when he was very young to write all his letters to England in cipher.
  5. (cryptography) A cryptographic system using an algorithm that converts letters or sequences of bits into ciphertext.
  6. Ciphertext; a message concealed via a cipher.
    The message is clearly a cipher, but I can't figure it out.
  7. A grouping of three digits in a number, especially when delimited by commas or periods:
    The probability is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 — a number having five ciphers of zeros.
  8. (music) A fault in an organ valve which causes a pipe to sound continuously without the key having been pressed.
  9. A hip-hop jam session.[2]
  10. The path (usually circular) shared cannabis takes through a group, an occasion of cannabis smoking.
  11. Someone or something of no importance; a nonentity
  12. (dated) Zero.

SynonymsEdit

  • (numeric character): number, numeral
  • (method for concealing the meaning of text): code
  • (cryptographic system using an algorithm):
  • (ciphertext):
  • (a grouping of three digits in a number, especially when delimited):
  • (design of interlacing initials): monogram
  • (fault in an organ valve causing a pipe to sound continuously):
  • (hip-hop jam session):
  • (path that shared cannabis takes through a group):
  • (someone or something of no importance): (person): nobody, nonentity, see also Thesaurus:nonentity; (thing) nonentity, nothing, nullity
  • (obsolete: zero): naught/nought, nothing, oh, zero

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

cipher (third-person singular simple present ciphers, present participle ciphering, simple past and past participle ciphered)

  1. (intransitive, regional, dated) To calculate.
    I never learned much more than how to read and cipher.
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. IX, Abbot Samson
      For the mischief that one blockhead, that every blockhead does, in a world so feracious, teeming with endless results as ours, no ciphering will sum up.
    • 1890, Emily Dickinson, T. W. Higginson; M. L. Todd, editors, Poems by Emily Dickinson, First Series, Boston: Roberts Brothers, page 115:
      So I must baffle at the hint/ And cipher at the sign,/ And make much blunder, if at last/I take the clew divine.
    • 1979, Octavia Butler, Kindred:
      Can you cipher too—along with your reading and writing?
  2. (intransitive) To write in code or cipher.
  3. (intransitive, music) Of an organ pipe: to sound independent of the organ.
  4. (obsolete) To decipher.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Cipher. (n.d.). In the New Oxford American Dictionary.
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060213154654/http://rapdict.org/Cipher Rap Dictionary. Retrieved 30 November 2005.

AnagramsEdit