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Definition a secret way to write a disguised message; or such a message; or the act of writing such a message; or a key used to disguise such a message

At one time, cipher frequently referenced the act of doing mathematical calculations or a person capable of such calculations. A comprehensive dictionary will describe other less common senses of cipher.
  • The message was written with a secret cipher.
cipher = a secret way to write a disguised message
  • solved the cipher
  • But what is the use of a cipher message without the cipher?
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Valley of Fear
  • Fancy a man lugging with him a book of that description into this nowhere and studying it— and making notes—in cipher at that
    Joseph Conrad  --  Heart of Darkness
  • As to Tom, Charley's brother, I am really afraid to say what he did at school in ciphering, but I think it was decimals.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • My henchmen, lead me hence, away, away, A cipher, less than nothing; no delay!
    Sophocles  --  Antigone
  • Civil War Times, which originally published his findings about the cipher messages, later denounced him.
    Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard  --  Killing Lincoln
  • "Give me an example of your meaning, Wamba,—I know nothing of ciphers or rates of usage," answered the Knight.
    Sir Walter Scott  --  Ivanhoe
  • I learned some ciphers and wrote some letters, but that was all—
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Storm of Swords
  • Almost as quickly as Napoleon's original letter reached the King, Robespierre would have this ciphered letter in his hands.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Red Prophet
  • It had a large black seal, bearing the D— cipher very conspicuously, and was addressed, in a diminutive female hand, to D—, the minister, himself.
    Edgar Allan Poe  --  The Purloined Letter
  • To us, Mr. de Klerk was a cipher.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • There was no ciphering her out by the rules that worked with other children.
    Lucy Maud Montgomery  --  Anne Of Green Gables
  • 'twas certain he could write, and cipher too.
    Frank McCourt  --  Angela's Ashes
  • Knitting, sewing, reading, writing, ciphering, will be all you will have to teach.
    Charlotte Bronte  --  Jane Eyre
  • You'll read and write and cipher.
    Robert Newton Peck  --  A Day No Pigs Would Die
  • Much of the dialogue that transpired between Harris and me was eerily similar to the dialogue between Adams and the cipher.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into Thin Air
  • In moments like this she thought of all the little girls who grew into adulthood and old age as a sort of cipher alphabet for all of those who didn't.
    Alice Sebold  --  The Lovely Bones
  • He had to have his jaunts to Paris; he had to send expensive cables in cipher to Florence about twice a week.
    Ford Madox Ford  --  The Good Soldier
  • He seemed to her paltry, weak, a cipher—in a word, a poor thing in every way.
    Gustave Flaubert  --  Madame Bovary

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