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



    (also cypher) noun
    BrE BrE//ˈsaɪfə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsaɪfər//
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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] a secret way of writing, especially one in which a set of letters or symbols is used to represent others synonym code a message in cipher see also decipher
  2. 2[countable] (formal, disapproving) a person or thing of no importance To her employers she was a mere cipher, with no human feelings at all.
  3. 3(British English) the first letters of somebody’s name combined in a design and used to mark things The glasses were engraved with the Queen’s cipher.
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (in the senses ‘symbol for zero’ and ‘Arabic numeral’): from Old French cifre, based on Arabic ṣifr ‘zero’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cipher