cipher




A cipher is a secret code, usually one that’s created using a mathematical algorithm. Sometimes the message written in code is itself called a cipher.

Cipher comes from the Arabic sifr, which means “nothing” or “zero.” The word came to Europe along with the Arabic numeral system. As early codes substituted numerals for letters to hide the word’s meaning, codes became known as ciphers. If you crack a cipher, you break the code and can understand the message. From its “zero” meaning, cipher can also be used for a person who has no influence or importance in the world.

Definitions of cipher
  1. noun

    a secret method of writing

    synonyms:
    cryptograph, cypher, secret code
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    type of:

    code

    a coding system used for transmitting messages requiring brevity or secrecy

  2. noun

    a message written in a secret code

    synonyms:
    cypher
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    type of:

    message

    a communication (usually brief) that is written or spoken or signaled

  3. verb

    convert ordinary language into code

    synonyms:
    code, cypher, encipher, encrypt, inscribe, write in code
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    type of:

    encode

    convert information into code

  4. noun

    a mathematical element that when added to another number yields the same number

    synonyms:
    0, cypher, nought, zero
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    type of:

    digit, figure

    one of the elements that collectively form a system of numeration

  5. noun

    a quantity of no importance

    synonyms:
    aught, cypher, goose egg, nada, naught, nil, nix, nothing, null, zero, zilch, zip, zippo
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    types:

    nihil

    (Latin) nil; nothing (as used by a sheriff after an unsuccessful effort to serve a writ)
    type of:

    relative quantity

    a quantity relative to some purpose

  6. noun

    a person of no influence

    synonyms:
    cypher, nobody, nonentity
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    types:

    pip-squeak, small fry, squirt

    someone who is small and insignificant
    jackanapes, lightweight, whippersnapper

    someone who is unimportant but cheeky and presumptuous
    type of:

    common man, common person, commoner

    a person who holds no title

  7. verb

    make a mathematical calculation or computation

    synonyms:
    calculate, compute, cypher, figure, reckon, work out

    work out

    be calculated
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    types:

    show 40 types…
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    quantise, quantize

    apply quantum theory to; restrict the number of possible values of (a quantity) or states of (a physical entity or system) so that certain variables can assume only certain discrete magnitudes that are integral multiples of a common factor
    extract

    calculate the root of a number
    process

    perform mathematical and logical operations on (data) according to programmed instructions in order to obtain the required information
    prorate

    divide or assess proportionally
    miscalculate, misestimate

    calculate incorrectly
    recalculate

    calculate anew
    average, average out

    compute the average of
    factor, factor in, factor out

    resolve into factors
    add, add together

    make an addition by combining numbers
    deduct, subtract, take off

    make a subtraction
    multiply

    combine by multiplication
    divide, fraction

    perform a division
    extrapolate, interpolate

    estimate the value of
    differentiate

    calculate a derivative; take the derivative
    integrate

    calculate the integral of; calculate by integration
    survey

    plot a map of (land)
    approximate, estimate, gauge, guess, judge

    judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time)
    budget

    make a budget
    capitalise, capitalize

    compute the present value of a business or an income
    resolve, solve

    find the solution
    square

    raise to the second power
    cube

    raise to the third power
    foot, foot up

    add a column of numbers
    carry back

    deduct a loss or an unused credit from taxable income for a prior period
    raise

    multiply (a number) by itself a specified number of times: 8 is 2 raised to the power 3
    halve

    divide by two; divide into halves
    quarter

    divide by four; divide into quarters
    triangulate

    survey by triangulation
    quantise, quantize

    approximate (a signal varying continuously in amplitude) by one whose amplitude is restricted to a prescribed set of discrete values
    misgauge

    gauge something incorrectly or improperly
    place, put, set

    estimate
    give

    estimate the duration or outcome of something
    lowball, underestimate

    make a deliberately low estimate
    assess

    estimate the value of (property) for taxation
    make

    calculate as being
    count, reckon

    take account of
    overcapitalise, overcapitalize

    estimate the capital value of (a company) at an unreasonably or unlawfully high level
    factorise, factorize

    resolve (a polynomial) into factors
    truncate

    approximate by ignoring all terms beyond a chosen one
    guesstimate

    estimate based on a calculation
    type of:

    reason

    think logically

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