Definition of decode in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Convert (a coded message) into intelligible language.

    • ‘The British intercepted and decoded the message, and passed it to the US State Department.’
    • ‘Yeltsin was also helped by international support, especially from the USA, whose CIA was able to record and decode the entire communication between the coup leaders.’
    • ‘The British, having broken into the German codes, decoded the telegram.’
    • ‘In April 1943, America's intelligence decoded a Japanese message that informed them that Yamamoto was going to visit the northern Solomon Islands on April 18th.’
    • ‘Official bodies have the right to use technical means to decode messages.’
    • ‘Nelson quickly decoded the message and shared it with his Senior officers.’
    • ‘Each transmission can go on for about ten minutes and it's thought that the transmissions are used to send code to agents in the field, who then decode the message to receive instructions or whatever.’
    • ‘Viète was certainly well known for his mathematical abilities by this time and, as one of the Henry IV's most loyal supporters, it was natural for Henry to turn to Viète to decode messages being sent to his enemy Philip II of Spain.’
    • ‘Indeed, spies have been drawing pictures of enemy facilities and decoding messages for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.’
    • ‘By the middle of 1941 Turing's statistical approach, together with captured information, had led to the German navy signals being decoded at Bletchley.’
    • ‘All the agent needs is an innocent looking radio and the right cipher to decode the message.’
    • ‘Changes in the way the Germans encoded their messages had meant that Bletchley lost the ability to decode the messages.’
    • ‘My job was in the telegram section; I was not involved in the handling of the so-called ‘routine telegrams,’ rather my major task was to decode telegrams in code.’
    • ‘From 1939 to 1940, along with others, he designed a machine known as the ‘Bomba’ that successfully decoded German messages and provided pivotal intelligence to the Allies.’
    • ‘But they are unaware that England has obtained a copy of the machine and is decoding every message.’
    • ‘He started running an encrypt match algorithm to decode the message, and within ten seconds the computer had discovered what code was being used.’
    • ‘This was the time of the Civil War between the Royalists and Parliamentarians and Wallis used his skills in cryptography in decoding Royalist messages for the Parliamentarians.’
    • ‘After all, the US had broken Japan's diplomatic codes and could sometimes decode messages faster than the Japanese themselves.’
    • ‘Further legislation is expected, with repeated calls being made to ban encryption technology unless government agencies are provided with a means to decode messages.’
    • ‘Tests showed that they could encode, transmit and decode a three-line English message in 20 seconds, about 90 times as fast as machines of that era.’
    decipher, decrypt, unravel, untangle, work out, sort out, piece together, solve, interpret, translate, construe, explain, understand, comprehend, apprehend, grasp
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Analyze and interpret (a verbal or nonverbal communication or image)
      ‘a handbook to help parents decode street language’
      • ‘Roland Barthes had been struck by a camionette carrying the kind of advertising he'd analysed and decoded.’
      • ‘In her chapter on visual representations of ‘Liberty’, Marina Warner decodes the icons of modern political orders that have become so familiar to us that we rarely think about their meanings.’
      • ‘In addition, compared to males, females tend to be better at reading or decoding the intended messages sent by others through their nonverbal behaviour, are less suspicious of others, and are more willing to view others as truthful.’
      • ‘As media saturate our lives, it is vital that children learn to decode messages and images, to ask critical questions about who is creating them and for what purpose.’
      • ‘This is key for me at an open-admissions college, because we often have students who either cannot decode the words or cannot grasp an overall meaning.’
      • ‘In this house every object carries its freight of meaning, every glance must be decoded: shadows must be interpreted.’
      • ‘Like the comic scene in the film Airplane, urban street rap has to be decoded for doctors who themselves come from wide ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.’
      • ‘Similarly, I need to be sensitive to how you have encoded your views when I try to decode the signals that I receive from your speech and gestures.’
      • ‘Items with few words can probably be decoded, albeit laboriously, with adequate comprehension by even the majority of poor readers.’
      • ‘Their image of Nature as a book to be decoded and read would ultimately be displaced by the image of the world as a machine, in which every event had a cause and an effect rather than a meaning.’
      • ‘Graduate of a City Council graffiti-spelling workshop for street kids, he knew how to decode the slogans of the day, how to phase them and how to remix them.’
      • ‘A performer can use various markers to steer the listener into decoding any sounds either as noises or as music, as speech or as song.’
      • ‘Traders had no difficulty decoding the G7 message’
      • ‘Relational aesthetics tries to decode or understand the type of relations to the viewer produced by the work of art.’
      • ‘Psychologically perceptive and metaphysically curious, both men had a keen eye for understanding and decoding the human condition.’
      • ‘However in dissatisfied couples, men had a much more difficult time decoding the messages accurately, if they were delivered by their partners.’
      • ‘The function of the mythologist is not to understand the myth but to decode it, ‘to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact’.’
      • ‘Theory can also help historians to interpret and decode visual documents.’
      • ‘Although highly amusing and informative to a degree, contemporary reviews, a classic primary source for the art historian, are of limited value here in decoding the painting's reception.’
      • ‘The two main types of speech delay are expressive delays - meaning the inability to generate speech, or receptive delays, the inability to decode or understand the speech of others.’
    2. 1.2 Convert (audio or video signals) into another form, e.g., to analog from digital in sound reproduction.
      ‘processors used to decode CD-quality digital audio signals’
      • ‘C-Cube Microsystems has developed a single chip that can encode and decode multiple streams of digital TV and will reduce the cost of recordable DVD players to less than $500.’
      • ‘Every time the digitiser ‘listens’ to the music it records a number that will allow that tiny slice of music to be reproduced when the digital audio is decoded and made into analogue music that you can hear.’
      • ‘It enables operators to convert new and existing 2D programs to 3D that can be decoded in advanced set-tops and played back in either 2D or 3D, depending on viewer demands.’
      • ‘The setup also requires installation of a US $6,500 7E receiving device at news headquarters that decodes the signal for broadcast.’
      • ‘A digital receiver will then be able to decode the signal and amplify it with the higher quality amplifier.’
      • ‘We also add a second micro-controller computer chip inside the case to decode the TTK signals from the receiver and activate the Game Boy SP buttons.’
      • ‘Recording DVB is painless - instead of the program decoding the MPEG signal, it simply saves it to your HDD in the format you choose.’
      • ‘A receiver receives a signal based on the output and decodes the signal.’
      • ‘For those who don't have cable or satellite TV and don't want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new set, a converter box will be available to receive and decode digital signals.’
      • ‘The DSP, on the other hand, takes the analog signal, decodes it, and allows for digital manipulation of audio signal down to the 1s and 0s of computer language to adjust to the sound field.’
      • ‘Its ‘brain’ is the processor that decodes the video and audio signal received through the antenna cable into images that can be displayed on the PC monitor.’
      • ‘On the PS2, at least, you'll need to make sure that your TV can decode other signals, as well.’
      • ‘The descramblers are devices that can decode dozens of digital channels transmitted to subscribers' houses.’
      • ‘How does your television decode the signals to produce the picture?’
      • ‘The modem decodes the analog data signal and converts it to a digital signal.’
      • ‘The cable box performs two different services: It decodes the digital cable signal into a format your TV can display.’
      • ‘The receiver then decodes the signal based on the differential voltage between these lines.’
      • ‘It functions in the same way as normal television reception, except that viewers need an extra box attached to their TV aerial to decode the digital signals.’
      • ‘Together with a new set-top box developed by Siemens that can decode the H.264 standard, the digital information can be reassembled into a smoothly moving picture on the TV set.’
      • ‘If you elect for the software option which most people do, then, as previously said, it takes a lot of processing power to decode DVD Video.’


  • A translation of a coded message.

    • ‘Instead, 321 pointed customers to separate decode software widely available on the Internet.’
    • ‘A decode sheet was sealed and locked away.’
    • ‘The obfuscation method works only because Microsoft's IIS permits a non-standard decode of html (so Apache servers, for example, are not affected).’
    • ‘Cimarron Technologies will announce the availability of a simultaneous multiple format decode option in their C Plus ANI decoders.’
    • ‘Both chips will handle MPEG 4 decode, but the 4000 will support MPEG encoding too.’
    • ‘The memory device also includes a counter circuitry coupled to the decode logic circuitry that generates a counter value based on the decoded address.’