Definition of decode in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Indeed, spies have been drawing pictures of enemy facilities and decoding messages for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.’
    • ‘The British intercepted and decoded the message, and passed it to the US State Department.’
    • ‘All the agent needs is an innocent looking radio and the right cipher to decode the message.’
    • ‘The British, having broken into the German codes, decoded the telegram.’
    • ‘After all, the US had broken Japan's diplomatic codes and could sometimes decode messages faster than the Japanese themselves.’
    • ‘By the middle of 1941 Turing's statistical approach, together with captured information, had led to the German navy signals being decoded at Bletchley.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He started running an encrypt match algorithm to decode the message, and within ten seconds the computer had discovered what code was being used.’
    • ‘Changes in the way the Germans encoded their messages had meant that Bletchley lost the ability to decode the messages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But they are unaware that England has obtained a copy of the machine and is decoding every message.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Further legislation is expected, with repeated calls being made to ban encryption technology unless government agencies are provided with a means to decode messages.’
    • ‘Nelson quickly decoded the message and shared it with his Senior officers.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Items with few words can probably be decoded, albeit laboriously, with adequate comprehension by even the majority of poor readers.’
      • ‘Relational aesthetics tries to decode or understand the type of relations to the viewer produced by the work of art.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘However in dissatisfied couples, men had a much more difficult time decoding the messages accurately, if they were delivered by their partners.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Traders had no difficulty decoding the G7 message’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this house every object carries its freight of meaning, every glance must be decoded: shadows must be interpreted.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Theory can also help historians to interpret and decode visual documents.’
      • ‘Psychologically perceptive and metaphysically curious, both men had a keen eye for understanding and decoding the human condition.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A digital receiver will then be able to decode the signal and amplify it with the higher quality amplifier.’
      • ‘How does your television decode the signals to produce the picture?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The modem decodes the analog data signal and converts it to a digital signal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The receiver then decodes the signal based on the differential voltage between these lines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the PS2, at least, you'll need to make sure that your TV can decode other signals, as well.’
      • ‘The cable box performs two different services: It decodes the digital cable signal into a format your TV can display.’
      • ‘The descramblers are devices that can decode dozens of digital channels transmitted to subscribers' houses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A receiver receives a signal based on the output and decodes the signal.’
      • ‘The setup also requires installation of a US $6,500 7E receiving device at news headquarters that decodes the signal for broadcast.’
      • ‘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.’


  • A translation of a coded message.

    • ‘A decode sheet was sealed and locked away.’
    • ‘Instead, 321 pointed customers to separate decode software widely available on the Internet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cimarron Technologies will announce the availability of a simultaneous multiple format decode option in their C Plus ANI decoders.’
    • ‘The obfuscation method works only because Microsoft's IIS permits a non-standard decode of html (so Apache servers, for example, are not affected).’