Cipher key
Cipher 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}.] [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster]

2. One who, or that which, has no weight or influence. [1913 Webster]

Here he was a mere cipher. --W. Irving. [1913 Webster]

3. A character in general, as a figure or letter. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

This wisdom began to be written in ciphers and characters and letters bearing the forms of creatures. --Sir W. Raleigh. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

His father . . . engaged him when he was very young to write all his letters to England in cipher. --Bp. Burnet. [1913 Webster]

{Cipher key}, a key to assist in reading writings in cipher. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cipher key — noun A key to a cipher or piece of secret writing • • • Main Entry: ↑cipher …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cipher — 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}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Arith.) A character [0] which, standing by itself, expresses… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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