cipher [-s, cypher] n

OFr < Ar. çifr, arithmetical symbol 'zero' or 'nought' < Sanscrit śūnya, empty.

  1. Zero; nonentity; arithmetical symbol (0); numeral which has no value by itself, but which increases or decreases the value of other figures according to its position; [fig.] sum; number; figuring; calculation; accounting; record; [fig.] writing; scribbling; line of poetry; word jotted down.
  2. Sign; figure; letter; name; single character; [fig.] nonentity; nobody; noone; place-holder with no inherent value.

cipher v

see cipher, n.

  1. Calculate; decode; solve; think out.