What word or phrase does your mother always say?
c.1300, "systematic compilation of laws," from Old French code "system of laws, law-book" (13c.), from Latin codex, earlier caudex "book, book of laws," literally "tree trunk," hence, book made up of wooden tablets covered with wax for writing. Meaning "cipher" (the sense in secret code) is from 1808.
1815, from code (n.). Specifically in the computer sense from 1947. Related: Coded; coding.
A series of instructions designed to be fed into a computer.
The word "code" is often used to distinguish instructions from data (e.g. "The code is marked 'read-only'") whereas the word "software" is used in contrast with "hardware" and may consist of more than just code.