Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MATHS

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: cifre, from Medieval Latin cifra, from Arabic sifr 'empty, zero'

cipher

noun
     
ci‧pher, cypher
1 [uncountable and countable] formal a system of secret writing [= code]:
an expert in ciphers
messages written in cipher
2 [countable] someone who is not important and has no power or influence:
At work, she was a cipher, a functionary, nothing more.
3 literaryHM [countable] the number 0 [= zero]
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