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Cipher Definition

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Other Cipher Definition

[n] a message written in a secret code
[n] a secret method of writing
[n] a person of no influence
[n] a quantity of no importance; "it looked like nothing I had ever seen before"; "reduced to nil all the work we had done"; "we racked up a pathetic goose egg"; "it was all for naught"; "I didn't hear zilch about it"
[n] a mathematical element that when added to another number yields the same number
[v] make a mathematical calculation or computation
[v] convert ordinary language into code; "We should encode the message for security reasons"


decipher, decode, decrypt

Misc. Definitions

\Ci"pher\, n. [OF. cifre zero, F. Chiffre figure (cf. Sp. cifra, LL. cifra), fr. Ar. [,c]ifrun, [,c]afrun, empty, cipher, zero, fr. [,c]afira to be empty. Cf. {Zero}.]
1. (Arith.) A character [0] which, standing by itself, expresses nothing, but when placed at the right hand of a whole number, increases its value tenfold.
2. One who, or that which, has no weight or influence. Here he was a mere cipher. --W. Irving.
3. A character in general, as a figure or letter. [Obs.] This wisdom began to be written in ciphers and characters and letters bearing the forms of creatures. --Sir W. Raleigh.
4. A combination or interweaving of letters, as the initials of a name; a device; a monogram; as, a painter's cipher, an engraver's cipher, etc. The cut represents the initials N. W.
5. A private alphabet, system of characters, or other mode of writing, contrived for the safe transmission of secrets; also, a writing in such characters. His father . . . engaged him when he was very young to write all his letters to England in cipher. --Bp. Burnet. {Cipher key}, a key to assist in reading writings in cipher.
\Ci"pher\, a. Of the nature of a cipher; of no weight or influence. ``Twelve cipher bishops.'' --Milton.
\Ci"pher\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Ciphered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Ciphering}.] To use figures in a mathematical process; to do sums in arithmetic. ``T was certain he could write and cipher too. --Goldsmith.
\Ci"pher\, v. t.
1. To write in occult characters. His notes he ciphered with Greek characters. --Hayward.
2. To get by ciphering; as, to cipher out the answer.
3. To decipher. [Obs.] --Shak.
4. To designate by characters. [Obs.] --Shak.

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