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Combining form. Before a vowel or h also crypt-.
[Greek kruptos hidden.]
Forming words, mostly scientific terms, modelled on Greek compounds,
with the sense 'concealed, secret, not visible to the naked eye',
as cryptogram, cyptobranchiate.
Hence as a freely productive element forming nouns and adjective
with the sense 'unavowed(ly), not overt(ly)',
as crypto-Communist, crypto-Fascist, crypto-Semite.
As a child that was always reading books on codes, ciphers, secret societies and espionage, it's hardly surprising that the plethora of crypto- words would make it into Lexicolatry. In fact, of all the prefixes and combining forms I've covered thus far, I can emphatically state that crypto- yielded the most interesting and alluringly mysterious words by far! I could quite happily write a seperate post on each of the subjects below. However, in the interests of self-control (and the possibility of finishing this project before I'm 50), I'm going to show admirable restraint. Thus, I present to you a collection of some of the most interesting crypt- and crypto- words. Enjoy!
Noun. Originally U.S. E20
The practice or art of solving cryptograms by analysis; code-breaking.
(a) obs. Designating primitive organisms presumed to have existed in earlier geological periods but to have left no trace of their existence;
(c) Pertaining to or in a state of cryptobiosis.
(Of a disease) of obscure or uncertain origin.
Something written in cipher; a coded message.
1 A cryptogram. M19
2 A device for encoding or decoding messages. M19
A secret or coded language.
1 Secret speech or communication; mysterious or enigmatic language. M17
2 The practice or art of encoding and decoding messages; the knowledge of codes. M20
A secret name, a code-name.
Whose name is secret, of the nature of a cryptonym.
The search for and study of creatures (e.g. the Loch Ness monster)
whose supposed existence is evidenced by tradition, unsubstantiated reports, etc.
Do you have any favourite secret words?
Are there any crypto- words that aren't but should be?
Do please hide your most cryptic comments in the box below.