An algorithm for encryption and decryption. A cipher replaces a piece of information (an element in plaintext) with another object, with the intent to conceal meaning. Typically, the replacement rule is governed by a secret key.

Ci"pher (?), n. [OF. cifre zero, F. Chiffre figure (cf. Sp.cifra, LL. cifra), fr. Ar. ssifrun, ssafrun, empty, cipher, zero, fr. ssafira 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.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ci"pher, a.

Of the nature of a cipher; of no weight or influence.

"Twelve cipher bishops."

Milton.

 

© Webster 1913.


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.

 

© Webster 1913.


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.

 

© Webster 1913.

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