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.
- to determine the meaning of (something obscure or illegible)
- to convert from code into plain text; decode
v.1520s, from de- + cipher. Perhaps in part a loan-translation from Middle French déchiffrer. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.