Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To read or interpret (ambiguous, obscure, or illegible matter).
  • transitive verb To convert from a code or cipher to plaintext; decode.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A description.
  • noun A deciphered cipher; a translated version of a cipher.
  • To interpret by the use of a key, as something written in cipher; make out by discovering the key to.
  • To succeed in reading, as what is written in obscure, partially obliterated, or badly formed characters.
  • To discover or explain the meaning of, as of something that is obscure or difficult to be traced or understood.
  • To describe or delineate.
  • To find out; detect; discover; reveal.
  • To write in cipher; conceal by means of a cipher or other disguise.
  • =Syn. 1–3. To interpret, make out, unravel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To translate from secret characters or ciphers into intelligible terms.
  • transitive verb To find out, so as to be able to make known the meaning of; to make out or read, as words badly written or partly obliterated; to detect; to reveal; to unfold.
  • transitive verb rare To stamp; to detect; to discover.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To decode or decrypt a code or cipher to plain text.
  • verb To read text that is almost illegible or obscure.
  • verb To find a solution to a problem.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb read with difficulty
  • verb convert code into ordinary language

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • What I've been trying to decipher is whether John Donne is actually buried in St. Paul's Cathedral or not, in London.

    Librarian Kee Malesky Considers 'All Facts' For NPR

  • Pointing out that you wrote out sentences that are literally impossible to decipher is not an ad hominem.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover-Up — Sestak Edition

  • He certainly heard the question, because he repeated it back to Steve Murphy aloud, probably in the hopes that saying it to himself would help him decipher the code words masquerading as basic eighth grade English.

    2008 October 10 « Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  • He certainly heard the question, because he repeated it back to Steve Murphy aloud, probably in the hopes that saying it to himself would help him decipher the code words masquerading as basic eighth grade English.

    Don Martin: Stephen Harper Is A Big Mean Bully « Unambiguously Ambidextrous

  • The video illustrates its many features, some of which I was able to decipher from the German with an educated guess.

    PREFAB MOBILE FRIDAY: Deseo Caravans | Inhabitat

  • I guess my comment, that I’m now myself trying to decipher, is that only a genius could fix our problems at this time…

    Downtown Mall Expansion Approved at cvillenews.com

  • While our language columnist anxiously awaits her copy, she tries to decipher the Russian words for "countrymen" and "townsmen" into something usable.

    The Moscow Times

  • While our language columnist anxiously awaits her copy, she tries to decipher the Russian words for "countrymen" and "townsmen" into something usable.

    The Moscow Times

  • Lady Mar crushed the registered wish in her hand; and though she was never able to decipher a word more of Bruce's numerous letters (many of which, could she have read them, contained complaints of that silence she had so cruelly occasioned), she took and destroyed them all.

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesman Ken Spain goes one better, "It's hard to decipher which is the most fraudulent notion -- the fact that ACORN is a law-abiding entity worthy of a $4.2 billion bailout or that $1.1 trillion in out-of-control government spending is going to defy the experts and have some sort of immediate effect on the economy."

    Bertha Lewis: ACORN: The Bogeyman in the GOP Closet

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  • Clockwork Price

    Page 32

    But we're trying to (decipher) what it is that Mortmain is going to do.

    October 24, 2012