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private key


in cryptography, an encryption/decryption value known only to the party or parties that exchange secret messages; also called secret key


Some systems use both a public and private key.'s 21st Century Lexicon
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Examples from the Web for private key
Historical Examples
  • In that gossipy little town, of course, there were endless surmises as to the why and wherefore of that private key.

    Amaryllis at the Fair Richard Jefferies
  • He let himself in at his door with a private key—and I saw him no more.

    Vendetta Marie Corelli
  • Mrs. Cupp would be very angry if she knew Linda was down here without permission and had a private key to her trunk.

  • He locked the door with a private key, and kicked a chair up to the table.

    The Walking Delegate Leroy Scott
  • You'd encrypt the message with your private key and my public key.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • I can put it on my "keyring" -- a list of keys that I've signed with my private key.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • The second lock -- your private key -- only comes off with your public key.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • Because if they can decrypt it with your public key, it can only have been encrypted with your private key.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • I signed it and encrypted it with my private key and the public key Masha had provided.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • He went over to the sideboard, unlocked a lower division of it with his private key, and drew forth a half-bottle of champagne.

    Mrs. Thompson William Babington Maxwell
private key in Technology

A piece of data used in private-key cryptography and public-key cryptography. In the former the private key is known by both sender and recipient whereas in the latter it is known only to the sender.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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