"Decrypt" and "decipher"

Subject: "Decrypt" and "decipher"
From: "F. Marc de Piolenc" <piolenc -at- mozcom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR List (posts)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 19:51:05 +0800

Both are valid verbs and both mean to convert ciphertext to plaintext.
But there is a subtle difference: one refers to doing this when in
rightful possession of the algorithm and key, and the other refers to
code "breaking." The trouble is, I can't recall which is which! I THINK
that "decipher" refers to what a code clerk does, while "decrypt" is
what the NSA tries to do with other people's mail.

Marc de Piolenc

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