Noun. Also cypher. Late Middle English.
[Old French cif(f)re (modern chiffre) from medieval Latin cif(e)ra partly through Italian cifra,
obsolete cifera from Arabic sifr. Compare with ZERO noun & adjective. Branch II perhaps a different word.]
1(a) An arithmetical symbol, o, of no value by itself,
but used to occupy a vacant place in decimal etc. numeration. LME
1(b) figurative. A person who or thing which fills a place but is of no importance; a nonentity. L16
2(a) A numeral; especially an arabic numeral. LME
2(b) obsolete. A symbolic character; a hieroglyph; an astrological sign. M16-M19
3 A secret or disguised system of writing, a code used in writing;
a message etc. so written; a key to such a system. E16
3(b) In plural. Shorthand. M16-M17
4 An interlacing of letters, especially the initials of a name; a monogram. M16
5 A continuous sounding of an organ-pipe owning to a mechanical defect. L18
|The name of my secret society|
There's a free Lexicolatry t-shirt to the first person that can tell me the name of my secret society.
(if, y'know, you have loads of time on your hands or are familiar with the code)
Do please leave your most enigmatic comments in the box below.