RE: To decrypt or decipher

Subject: RE: To decrypt or decipher
From: "McClare, Scott" <smcclare -at- neptec -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 11:17:02 -0500

[cc'd to Edwin Tudsbery, as TECHWR-L still seems a bit slow IMO]

tudsbery -at- matranet -dot- com [mailto:tudsbery -at- matranet -dot- com] asked:

> Do the verb decrypt and the noun decryption exist? Or should I use "to
> decipher" and "deciphering".

They're both listed in the Oxford Concise English Dictionary, 9th ed.

My impression is that "to decrypt" and "to decipher" are not strictly
synonymous. Encryption is rendering data into code to make it inaccessible,
whereas enciphering is a blanket term covering *many* ways of hiding data -
one-time pads, code-words, Enigma, Navajo, and so on. Maybe I'm splitting

Take care,


Scott A. McClare - Technical Writer
Neptec Design Group Ltd., Kanata, Ontario, Canada
(613) 599-7603 x504
smcclare -at- neptec -dot- com

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