Definition of code noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kəʊd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//koʊd//
    Computer software, Computer programming
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] (often in compounds) a system of words, letters, numbers or symbols that represent a message or record information secretly or in a shorter form to break/crack a code (= to understand and read the message) It's written in code. Tap your code number into the machine. In the event of the machine not operating correctly, an error code will appear. see also area code, barcode, Morse code, postcode, sort code, zip code
  2. 2  [countable] = dialling code There are three codes for London.
  3. 3[uncountable] (computing) a system of computer programming instructions see also machine code, source code Wordfindercode, data, functionality, input, interface, keyword, operating system, program, retrieve, software See related entries: Computer software, Computer programming
  4. 4[countable] a set of moral principles or rules of behaviour that are generally accepted by society or a social group a strict code of conduct
  5. 5[countable] a system of laws or written rules that state how people in an institution or a country should behave the penal code see also dress code, Highway Code
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: via Old French from Latin codex, codic- literally ‘block of wood’, later denoting a block split into leaves or tablets for writing on, hence a book. The term originally denoted a systematic collection of statutes made by Justinian or another of the later Roman emperors; compare with sense (5) (mid 18th cent.), the earliest modern sense.Extra examples He was thrown out for infringing the club’s strict dress code. The code was difficult to crack. The company has drawn up a new disciplinary code. The principal said I had violated the school’s dress code. The profession has a strict code of practice. There is an unwritten code that says ‘Do not date your best friend’s ex’. What’s the area code for Bath? planned changes in the US tax code the Highway Code A long-standing, unwritten code of behaviour governs relations between ministers and civil servants. The Supreme Council adopted a new criminal code. The law includes amendments to the penal code. The school enforces a strict code of conduct. There should be a clear ethical code for researchers working with human subjects. There was a rigid code of honour associated with the cult. Young people unconsciously conform to a dress code but reject any kind of uniform.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: code