"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[dih-sahy-fer] /dɪˈsaɪ fər/
verb (used with object)
to make out the meaning of (poor or partially obliterated writing, etc.):
to decipher a hastily scribbled note.
to discover the meaning of (anything obscure or difficult to trace or understand):
to decipher hieroglyphics.
to interpret by the use of a key, as something written in cipher:
to decipher a secret message.
Obsolete. to depict; portray.
Origin of decipher
1520-30; translation of Middle French déchiffrer. See de-, cipher
Related forms
decipherable, adjective
decipherability, noun
decipherer, noun
decipherment, noun
undecipherable, adjective
undecipherably, adverb
undeciphered, adjective
2. comprehend, solve, unravel, explain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decipherable
  • Even when it is big enough to be decipherable, it usually carries little meaning.
  • He seemed so closed off, so contained and decipherable in his retirement.
  • He left behind him reams of unpublished and barely decipherable manuscripts of his lecture courses, seminars, and conferences.
  • Paintings in part decipherable, but mostly unspeakable.
  • Only the complete and decipherable information will be indexed, and reflected in the acknowledgment letter.
  • Information encoded by one vendor likely will not be decipherable by another vendor's device or encoding software.
  • Descriptors should be intuitive and rapidly decipherable.
  • By conducting the above scale up or down operations, trend deviation and pattern development are more decipherable.
  • In some cases, the letters were readily decipherable as related to a specific part of the case.
  • Jacobs continued talking but it was not decipherable as he was away from a microphone.
British Dictionary definitions for decipherable


verb (transitive)
to determine the meaning of (something obscure or illegible)
to convert from code into plain text; decode
Derived Forms
decipherable, adjective
decipherability, noun
decipherer, noun
decipherment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decipherable



1520s, from de- + cipher. Perhaps in part a loan-translation from Middle French déchiffrer. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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