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decipher

[dih-sahy-fer] /dɪˈsaɪ fər/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make out the meaning of (poor or partially obliterated writing, etc.):
to decipher a hastily scribbled note.
2.
to discover the meaning of (anything obscure or difficult to trace or understand):
to decipher hieroglyphics.
3.
to interpret by the use of a key, as something written in cipher:
to decipher a secret message.
4.
Obsolete. to depict; portray.
Origin
1520-1530
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
Synonyms
2. comprehend, solve, unravel, explain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for decipherment

decipher

/dɪˈsaɪfə/
verb (transitive)
1.
to determine the meaning of (something obscure or illegible)
2.
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 decipherment

decipher

v.

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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