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Decipher   /dɪsˈaɪfər/   Listen
Decipher

verb
(past & past part. deciphered; pres. part. deciphering)
1.
Convert code into ordinary language.  Synonyms: decode, decrypt.
2.
Read with difficulty.  Synonym: trace.  "The archeologist traced the hieroglyphs"



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"Decipher" Quotes from Famous Books



... pilgrimage to Mecca—amongst the Brunais and the Kadaaans, amongst the latter more especially, but of course a visit to Mecca does not necessarily imply that the pilgrim has obtained any actual knowledge of the holy book, which some of them can decipher, the Malays having adopted the Arabic alphabet, but without, however, understanding the meaning of the Arabic words of which it consists. A friend of mine, son of the principal exponent of Mahomedan law in the capital, and who became naturalised as a British subject, had ...
— British Borneo - Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo • W. H. Treacher

... leaves one... There's not a doubt about that," he added, aloud. He wrote one more letter, a very short one, and addressed the envelope with an inscription which Lupin was able to decipher when the letter was placed ...
— The Crystal Stopper • Maurice LeBlanc

... monstrous it all seemed! Could it be that written on his hand, in characters that he could not read himself, but that another could decipher, was some fearful secret of sin, some blood- red sign of crime? Was there no escape possible? Were we no better than chessmen, moved by an unseen power, vessels the potter fashions at his fancy, for honour or for shame? ...
— Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories • Oscar Wilde

... the island, and seems to have no affinity either with that or with the Assyrian, which is discovered to have been once used there. The work of M. de Luynes will open a new problem for the philologists. It will be difficult to decipher the inscriptions and language, unless there can be found somewhere an ancient Cyprian inscription, with a translation in some known tongue; but in a time which has read the riddles of the pyramids, nothing of this sort is ...
— International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, - No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 • Various

... faith in human nature! They looked so honest! I could never have believed it of them! But it looked so much like the "shinplasters" we are forced to use, that no wonder they made the mistake. To discover who had played so mean a trick on the poor old woman, the General asked me if I could decipher the name. I threw myself on my knees by the hearth, and by the flickering light read "S. Kimes. By order of C! H!! Luzenberg!!! Provost Marshal!!!! Onolona, Miss.," with a gasp of astonishment that raised a burst of laughter against me. Thought he was taken prisoner long ago! At all ...
— A Confederate Girl's Diary • Sarah Morgan Dawson

... mention Kore's name for fear the parcel might be opened. So I purposely spelt 'Achilles' with one 'l' to draw attention to the code word, so that they should know where news of me was to be found. It was devilish smart of you to decipher that, Des!" ...
— The Man with the Clubfoot • Valentine Williams

... and blackened even in the fifteen yeas that I have known him. He is a phantom that is about to disappear; in spite of all the care lavished upon him, a poor phantom about to fall to pieces, to sink into nothingness. We move our lantern about his hooked nose, the better to decipher, in the play of shadow, his expression, that still remains authoritative. . . . To think that once the destinies of the world were ruled, without appeal, by the nod of this head, which looks now somewhat narrow, ...
— Egypt (La Mort De Philae) • Pierre Loti

... contemplation of this drawing filled him with a feeling of very deep yearning sadness. According to his usual habit, he ought to go and work a few hours in the office; but he could not do it; he went out to the Carlsberg[5] instead. There he stood and gazed out over the heaving sea, striving to decipher in the waves and in the grey misty clouds which had gathered in wonderful shapes over Hela,[6] as in a magic mirror, his own destiny in days ...
— Weird Tales. Vol. I • E. T. A. Hoffmann

... the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are to be as earnestly repressed and mortified. The seeker after the truth finds it only by frequent meditation amid the solitude of nature. Thither he will go both to study the pages of the sacred books and to decipher the scroll of his own inner consciousness. Thither also will he repair to commune with the one universal spirit which pervades all things, but which reveals itself especially to those who seek for it in the deep stillness of the forests, among the rocks of the ...
— Life of Schamyl - And Narrative of the Circassian War of Independence Against Russia • John Milton Mackie

... in the Journal follow the lines last quoted in this place. Except a word or two, here and there, it is impossible any longer to decipher the writing. The mischief done to her eyes by her reckless use of them, by her fits of crying, by her disturbed nights, by the long-continued strain on her of agitation and suspense, has evidently justified the worst of those unacknowledged forebodings which ...
— Poor Miss Finch • Wilkie Collins

... long and finer at this season, and the smaller furry gentry; for he dealt in peltry. And so, despite the vastness of the mountain wilds, he often came and knelt beside the rocks with his rifle in his hand, and sought anew to decipher the mystic legends. His face, bending over the tables of the Law with the earnest research of a student, with the chastened subduement of devotion, with all the calm sentiments of reverie, Jacked something of its normal aspect. When a sudden ...
— The Riddle Of The Rocks - 1895 • Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

... if not both, died before their father. The eldest has vipers in his hand, and in the distant landscape appears in a maze, with these words, Fata viam invenient. The other has a woman behind him, sitting near the sea, with strange monsters surrounding her. I don't pretend to decipher this, nor to describe half the entertaining morsels I found here; but I can't omit, as you know I am Grammont-mad, that I found "le vieux Roussel, qui 'etoit le plus fier danseur d'Angleterre." The portrait is young, but ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2 • Horace Walpole

... a large, clear hand, not difficult to decipher, even by the dim light of a moonlight lamp; and, while Dr. Englehart stood regarding me in the shadow, anxiously enough, I perceived, to keep me entirely on my guard, I perused, with mingled derision and terror, this truly characteristic epistle. My running commentaries, as I read—entirely ...
— Sea and Shore - A Sequel to "Miriam's Memoirs" • Mrs. Catharine A. Warfield

... pillars in the nave and choir are lofty, but massy: the capitals of some of them are curiously sculptured. On the lower member of the entablature of one capital there are still traces of an inscription; but it is so injured by neglect and violence, that we were unable to decipher a single word. The capital itself is fanciful ...
— Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. II. (of 2) • Dawson Turner

... certainly do not constitute a complete theory of religion. Our valiant knight has examined but one side of the shield,—the bright side, turned toward us, whose marvellous inscriptions the human reason can by dint of unwearied effort decipher. But the dark side, looking out upon infinity, and covered with hieroglyphics the meaning of which we can never know, he has quite forgotten to consider. Yet it is this side which genuine religious feeling ever seeks to contemplate. It is the consciousness ...
— The Unseen World and Other Essays • John Fiske

... never have known. This unknown power did not fail me in Espita, a pretty little town in the eastern part of Yucatan, where I received from a very old Indian not only the intelligence that forty years ago men still existed who could read the ancient Maya writing, but also a clue to decipher the ...
— The Mayas, the Sources of Their History / Dr. Le Plongeon in Yucatan, His Account of Discoveries • Stephen Salisbury, Jr.

... medical certificate, Sir; you can't read them,' remarked a solicitor to the chairman at the Devon Appeal Tribunal (Exeter Panel), as he sought to decipher the hand- [Inverted: writing on one of those documents. Previously in the day a certificate had been handed to Lieutenant Stirling with the remark, 'You won't be able to read it.' The] resourceful military representative, however, thought ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152, June 27, 1917 • Various

... a number of articles, of no particular value were lying near, but within the fragment of the pot, and protected by a shale of rock, was the enclosed scrap, which I thought might interest you, as you have a leaning in the direction of finding out hidden and abstruse things. Probably, you can decipher what it says. All the men are well, and are feeling jolly. We may be ready to return in a week. I hope the old ship ...
— The Wonder Island Boys: Adventures on Strange Islands • Roger Thompson Finlay

... the obscurity of the style is increased by allusions to facts and customs which are no longer known and cannot always be guessed at. Now, thanks to Rashi's commentary, a reader possessing a knowledge of the elements of the language and some slight knowledge of Jewish law, can decipher ...
— Rashi • Maurice Liber

... Church in Dublin sums up, in words at once cruelly bitter and profoundly melancholy, the story of his life. That mouldering inscription, niched in high obscurity, which sometimes stray pilgrims from across the seas strain their sight to decipher in the gloom, is the self-uttered epitaph of Jonathan Swift. We may translate it thus into English: "Here resteth the body of Jonathan Swift, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce indignation can lacerate his heart no longer. Go, traveller, imitate if thou canst a champion, strenuous to ...
— A History of the Four Georges, Volume II (of 4) • Justin McCarthy

... satirized, was made intelligible and diverting. The criticks had now declared their approbation of the plan, and the common reader began to like it without fear; those who were strangers to petty literature, and, therefore, unable to decipher initials and blanks, had now names and persons brought within their view; and delighted in the visible effect of those shafts of malice, which they had hitherto contemplated, as ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes - Volume the Eighth: The Lives of the Poets, Volume II • Samuel Johnson

... wear in consequence of the action of the water. Thus, though we cannot trace the formation of such a cylindrical shaft in the glacier from the beginning to the end, we may by combining the separate facts observed in a number decipher their ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 75, January, 1864 • Various

... even in those cases where the religion had been a derivative religion, and not originally moulded by impulses breathing from the native disposition. So that, upon the whole, such as were the gods of a nation, such was the nation: given the particular idolatry, it became possible to decipher the character of the idolaters. Where Moloch was worshipped, the people would naturally be found cruel; where the Paphian Venus, it could not be expected that they should escape the taint ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v1 • Thomas de Quincey

... moon. And the rock was gray and ghastly, and tall,—and the rock was gray. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stones; and I walked through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decipher them. And I was going back into the morass when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock and upon the characters;—and the ...
— Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works • Edgar Allan Poe

... entomological progression—changing from the butterfly into the chrysalis. He is seldom seen at the hospitals, dividing the whole of his time between the grinder and his lodgings; taking innumerable notes at one place, and endeavouring to decipher them at the other. Those who have called upon him at this trying period have found him in an old shooting-jacket and slippers, seated at a table, and surrounded by every book that was ever written upon every medical subject that was ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete • Various

... confidential solicitor and friend of the deceased, in a husky voice, his gold-rimmed glasses helping him to decipher the brown writing or endorsement of the yellow parchment. Then ...
— The Dark House - A Knot Unravelled • George Manville Fenn

... that perpetual blackness there was no such thing as day. We saw no one save Desiree and the serving men. Once a messenger appeared carrying a bundle of quipos; I was able to decipher their meaning sufficiently to understand that we were invited to some religious ceremony in the great cavern. But I thought it injudicious to allow a meeting between Harry and the king, and ...
— Under the Andes • Rex Stout

... to see, sir, as you aint in your usual good spirits?" said that observant spectator, coming closer up to "his clergyman." Elsworthy's eyes were full of meanings which Mr Wentworth could not, and had no wish to, decipher. ...
— The Perpetual Curate • Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant

... of this good son, down to the period of his mother's death, no matter how much burdened he was with business, to set apart occasional times for the careful penning of a letter in printed characters, that she might the more easily be able to decipher it with her old and dimmed eyes by her cottage fireside at The Crooks. As a man's real disposition usually displays itself most strikingly in small matters—like light, which gleams the most brightly when ...
— The Life of Thomas Telford by Smiles • Samuel Smiles

... folios before and after, we have such writing as that of fac-simile No. 4, "strangers where they come change the speech there used." On folios 93 to 95 we find characters like those given in fac-simile No. 5, which it requires more experience than ours in record-reading entirely to decipher. On the reverse of folio 95 the annotator, apparently weary of his task, stayed ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... them—if the tragedies and comedies are not personal revelations altogether—the multiform nature of the man rushing towards the sun at once in Falstaff, Hamlet, and Romeo. But calling Montaigne an egotist does not go a great way to decipher him. No writer takes the reader so much into his confidence, and no one so entirely escapes the penalty of confidence. He tells us everything about himself, we think; and when all is told, it is astonishing ...
— Dreamthorp - A Book of Essays Written in the Country • Alexander Smith

... date being recorded by my father, "Received July 24, 1851," one of the frolicsome letters which it requires second-sight to decipher, the handwriting ...
— Memories of Hawthorne • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

... character of the handwriting points to an early period of Leonardo's life. It has become very indistinct, and is at present exceedingly difficult to decipher. Some passages ...
— The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Complete • Leonardo Da Vinci

... will tell you my story,' said Captain Arcoll. 'It is a long story, and I must begin far back. It has taken me years to decipher it, and, remember, I've been all my life at this native business. I can talk every dialect, and I have the customs of every tribe by heart. I've travelled over every mile of South Africa, and Central and East Africa too. I was in both the Matabele wars, and I've seen a heap ...
— Prester John • John Buchan

... writ in Spanish that I'd give much to decipher. Confidence for confidence, let me tell thee that I am no scholar, but just a ...
— Sea-Dogs All! - A Tale of Forest and Sea • Tom Bevan

... and italics. But except one obvious misprint of a single letter, "even" for "ever," there is nothing which does "grave wrong" to the sense, or affects it in any way. "And these pages," as Mr. Norton says, with another meaning, "are not exceptional." The later reminiscences were not easy to decipher. Carlyle's handwriting was seriously affected by age, he wrote upon both sides of very thin paper, and I have seen several letters of his which bear out Froude's assertion that, after his hand began to shake, "it became harder to decipher than the worst manuscript which I have ever examined." ...
— The Life of Froude • Herbert Paul

... you laughing at?" goody Liu inquired. "I can decipher the characters on this honorary gateway. Over at our place temples of this kind are exceedingly plentiful; and they've all got archways like this! These characters give the name ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... dispersive effect and, when a number of prisms are employed, the final dispersion is considerable. A considerable amount of light is absorbed in this way, however, so that unless our primary source of light is very strong, the final spectrum will be very feeble and hard to decipher. ...
— The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) - A Plain Story Simply Told • J. Arthur Thomson

... Epochs of Nature was at first a theory to account for the existing order of nature. For a long time it satisfied the inquiring mind, if not with a solution at least with an answer to its queries. After geologic science had learned to decipher the facts of the world's growth as written on the stones which orb it, the religious mind fondly identified the upheavals and cataclysms there recorded with those which its own fancy had long since fabricated. The stars and suns, which the old seer ...
— The Religious Sentiment - Its Source and Aim: A Contribution to the Science and - Philosophy of Religion • Daniel G. Brinton

... had allowed something of the affair to leak out, and several visitors, including a local reporter, called, but were put off till the morrow, on the not unnatural plea that the long-separated couple desired a little privacy. The three sat silent, the ex-pilot, with wrinkled brows, trying hard to decipher the lip-language in which the captain addressed him whenever he had an opportunity, but could only dimly guess its purport, when the captain pressed his huge fist into ...
— Many Cargoes • W.W. Jacobs

... easy day that thus opened. The answers to his telegrams did not begin to arrive till noon, and then they were only formulae acknowledging receipt, which he did not need his code-book to decipher. With his black umbrella opened against the drive of the sun, he carried them at his leisure to the Baron, where he sat alone in his cool upper chamber working deliberately among his papers, received the customary ghost of a smile and the ...
— Those Who Smiled - And Eleven Other Stories • Perceval Gibbon

... she first resolved to publish it, she brought me a clear, complete copy in ink. It had cost much trouble, she said; for much of the pencil writing had been made under such disadvantages and was so faint that at times she could decipher it only under direct sunlight. She had succeeded, however, in making a copy, verbatim except for occasional improvement in the grammatical form of a sentence, or now and then the omission, for brevity's sake, of something unessential. The narrative has since been severely abridged ...
— Famous Adventures And Prison Escapes of the Civil War • Various

... shew the turne and present state of our hope or feares in our Affection. Your colours to an understanding Lover carry the interpretation of the hart as plainely as wee express our meaning one to another in Characters. Shall I decipher my Colours to you now? Here is Azure and Peach: Azure is constant, and Peach is love; ...
— A Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. II • Various

... questioned Marsa's face, as if to read thereon a secret, to decipher a name—Menko's or his own. Her exquisite, delicate features had the rigidity of marble; her dark eyes were staring straight ahead, like two spots of light, where nothing, nothing was reflected. Zilah shuddered again; she ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... itself. And this is the benign service that the voice performs. It tells us what we think better than we can ourselves. It unbinds the chains of the captive soul and permits it to take its flight. Happy the child, happy the young man who meets with a voice to decipher him to himself! This is what Christ did in those blest hours when He reunited the children of His people, as a bird reunites its brood under ...
— The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10 (of 10) • Various

... lying with her tiny hands buried in her rich wavy hair, under her cheek, her little head upon the pillow, and her glittering eyes followed me wherever I moved, with a kind of shy smile that I could not decipher. ...
— Carmilla • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... distance; or, if you belong to the softer sex, you get a place behind the screen, where you cannot see, but, what is much better, can sit. The atmosphere of the candle-lighted, crammed chapel is overpowering, and occupation you have none, except trying in the dim light to decipher the frescoes on the roof, with your head turned backwards. For three long hours you have a succession of dreary monotonous strains, forming portions of a chant, to you unintelligible, broken at intervals by a passage of intonation. There is no organ or instrumental music, and the absence ...
— Rome in 1860 • Edward Dicey

... At that moment I was gazing at the funnel, trying to decipher a monogram upon it; but I heard a new voice, rapid and incisive, sure of its subject, resolving doubts, and making the crooked straight. It was the man with the brown paper parcel. That was still ...
— London River • H. M. Tomlinson

... say the same of me," replied Ligarius. "I am just as able to decipher an obelisk as to read a ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 1 (of 4) - Contibutions to Knight's Quarterly Magazine] • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... peculiar page The fingers of the blind Decipher truths of every age, As mind communes with mind, So, one by one, these letters spell A name the ancient world ...
— Poems • John L. Stoddard

... between the t's and l's, he could not do it. Eventually he would be directed to put the letter into the box. They would do their best with it, Lizzie said, but in a voice that suggested how little hope she had of her efforts to decipher it ...
— Auld Licht Idylls • J. M. Barrie

... parchment, vellum, or heavy hand-made paper, which had been glued to the wood, but the greater part of which was torn or worn away. It was evident that the writing was too much defaced to allow of more than a mere guess at its purport, but by the not very good light I copied what I could decipher of the inscription. This is what I ...
— The Penance of Magdalena & Other Tales of the California Missions • J. Smeaton Chase

... steady progress had been made, except one step which is now stated by modern Anglo-Saxon scholars to have been a false one. Professor Stephens following Haigh thought he could decipher on the top stone of the cross the words Cadmon Mae Fawed, and inferred therefrom that the Cross Lay of which fragments were inscribed on the Ruthwell monument was the work of Caedmon, "the Milton of North ...
— Studies from Court and Cloister • J.M. Stone

... and converse. I list to St. Paul who argues the doubts of Montaigne; Julian the Apostate cross-questions Augustine; and Thomas-a-Kempis unrolls his old black letters for all to decipher. Zeno murmurs maxims beneath the hoarse shout of Democritus; and though Democritus laugh loud and long, and the sneer of Pyrrho be seen; yet, divine Plato, and Proclus, and, Verulam are of my counsel; and Zoroaster whispered me before I ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II (of 2) • Herman Melville

... rivaled her [Athens's] greatness shall have shared her fate; when civilization and knowledge shall have fixed their abode in distant continents; when the scepter shall have passed away from England; when, perhaps, travelers from distant regions shall in vain labor to decipher on some moldering pedestal the name of our proudest chief, shall hear savage hymns chanted to some misshapen idol over the ruined dome of our proudest temple, and shall see a single naked fisherman wash his nets in the river of the ten thousand masts,—her ...
— Higher Lessons in English • Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg

... often met him in the lanes thereabouts, and asked him for letters. Sometimes I have come upon him, sitting on the hedge-bank resting; and he has begged me to read him an address, too illegible for his spectacled eyes to decipher. When I used to inquire if he had anything for me, or for Holdsworth (he was not particular to whom he gave up the letters, so that he got rid of them somehow, and could set off homewards), he would say he thought that ...
— Cousin Phillis • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... in the water. I know, indeed, that the contrary sometimes happens; but when it does, it is usually—I do not say always—because the countenances of those who are around express fear or apprehension; for it is surprising how early these little beings learn to decipher our feelings ...
— The Young Mother - Management of Children in Regard to Health • William A. Alcott

... The fort has surrendered, the final charge having been led by Corney Delaney. We've had hot milk all around, father has retired to the study to decipher a complicated letter from Aunt Lot, Evan has taken the boys into the den for a drawing lesson, and the mystery of the ...
— People of the Whirlpool • Mabel Osgood Wright

... here is curious: concise, square, not flowing,—very legible, however, exactly suited to its purpose. People who profess to read character in chirography would decipher but little from these cramped, quiet lines. Only this, probably: that the woman, whoever she was, had not the usual fancy of her sex for dramatizing her soul in her writing, her dress, her face,—kept it locked up ...
— Margret Howth, A Story of To-day • Rebecca Harding Davis

... is a map which you can easily study out and decipher, and which will surely lead you to the hidden treasure. It is a wild and uninhabited part of the town, only about five miles from the frontier border. That red dot there marks the spot where it is secreted, and you notice that all lines ...
— The Boy Nihilist - or, Young America in Russia • Allan Arnold

... to the school of Turgenev. In all of his works he remains true to the principles which his master summed up in a letter: "One must penetrate the surroundings, and take life in all its manifestations; decipher the laws by which it is governed; get at the very essence of life, while remaining always within the boundaries of truth; and finally, one must not be contented with a ...
— Contemporary Russian Novelists • Serge Persky

... bitterly regretted his want of common learning, and the stupidity which made him still slow to decipher print, and utterly puzzled by writing, that the Cheap Jack's remarks told strongly. These, and the conversation they had had on the hill, recalled to his mind a matter which was still a mystery ...
— Jan of the Windmill • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... heard some of Mr. Choate's clients dwell upon his mighty power as an advocate, and it seems to me that words of law flowing from such lips might have been suggestive of the harmony of the universe. The chirography of Mr. Choate was equal to any Chinese puzzle; it was even more difficult to decipher than that of Horace Greeley. I once received a note from him and was obliged to call upon my family to aid me in reading it. He had a fund of humor which was universally applauded by an admiring public. Once, in replying to a toast on Yale College at the "Hasty-Pudding" dinner, he said ...
— As I Remember - Recollections of American Society during the Nineteenth Century • Marian Gouverneur

... or was it desire for knowledge, that impelled him to decipher the sacred text in an unknown language at what cost soever? It is certain that no difficulty affrighted him. Word by word he translated the Latin text by dint of comparing it with the Hebrew original, and he succeeded in acquiring a large number of Latin words. He is not alone in ...
— The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885) • Nahum Slouschz

... one day, and a friend of mine, who had a genius for that sort of thing, sat himself down early one Saturday morning to decipher it. ...
— The English Gipsies and Their Language • Charles G. Leland

... his routine labor, his mind was not upon it. No, rather it dwelt upon the vast discovery he had made—or seemed to have made—the night before. Clearly limned before his vision, he still saw the notes, the plans, the calculations he had been able to decipher in the Billionaire's lost note-book—the note-book which now, deep in the pocket of his jumper that hung behind him on a hook against the wall, drew his every thought, ...
— The Air Trust • George Allan England

... me. I had despaired of finding such, but, on the whole, I rather like you; believe you can suit me exactly if you will, and I am disposed to give you a trial. Sit down here and copy this paragraph; let me see what sort of hieroglyphics I shall have to decipher if I ...
— Macaria • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... the dead. They read aloud to each other the quaint inscriptions. Now and again they pause, note-book in hand, to copy some chiseled epitaph that strikes the fancy. They kneel or lie prone upon the turf before a crumbling tomb to decipher its doleful couplets, thrusting aside the concealing grasses, lest a word be missed. They wander here and there beneath the shadow of the venerable elms and pines, and, before departing, enter the old church, to rest and pray within the stillness of ...
— The Story of Cooperstown • Ralph Birdsall

... months of occasional pic-nic parties. During one of these visits, at which I {77} was present, I copied an inscription, painted in old characters on a board, and nailed to one of the walls, and as the whole thing had not the appearance of belonging to modern times, and, as far as I could decipher it, it referred to some agreement between Alfred and some of his neighbouring brother kings, concerning boundaries of territory, I send it to ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 195, July 23, 1853 • Various

... to me to get a letter from you the other day. Perhaps I should have found it pleasanter if I had been able to decipher it. I don't think that I mastered anything beyond the date (which I knew) and the ...
— Modern Prose And Poetry; For Secondary Schools - Edited With Notes, Study Helps, And Reading Lists • Various

... operator picked up the messages passing between the two ships, they were only a jumble. In spite of all attempts of Lord Hastings and the two lads to decipher the code, they remained in ignorance of further ...
— The Boy Allies Under Two Flags • Ensign Robert L. Drake

... couched in the choicest vocabulary of the ringside, and more than once Young Denny, whose literature had been confined chiefly to harvesters and sulky plows, had to stop and decipher phrases which he only half understood at first reading. But that last paragraph he ...
— Once to Every Man • Larry Evans

... in the stranger. He, on the other hand, looked up to her from time to time with a terrific grin that was intended for a sweet smile. As often as he turned his face toward her she sought to decipher his real features, which ...
— The Delight Makers • Adolf Bandelier

... the very city mentioned by Theodolite. As the seeress had declared, a deep and noisome night always prevailed, only broken here and there as a wanderer scratched one of Bryant & May's matches and painfully endeavoured to decipher the number on the door of his house. The streets, moreover, were strewn and interwoven with long strings of iron fallen ...
— HE • Andrew Lang

... for hours over the ink-smeared sheaf of papers which the tin box yielded up. Most of them were covered with a cramped and misspelled handwriting which they knew must be that of the one whom Steve had called "Old Tom." Some of them were hard to decipher, but their import ...
— Then I'll Come Back to You • Larry Evans

... feet; gold on my left hand; gold on my right; gold overhead; gold everywhere! I knew from certain inscriptions that I could partly decipher that this hidden treasure was a part of the Incas wealth in the days ...
— Jack North's Treasure Hunt - Daring Adventures in South America • Roy Rockwood

... She tried to decipher the mask he wore: it was proof against her imploring eyes. 'If you can ask me—if you can positively wish it—yes,' she said. 'But think of what you are doing. Oh! Alvan, not back to ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... the manuscript of Bishop Landa's account of Yucatan was discovered, some twenty years ago, in Madrid. The Bishop gave what he called "an A, B, C," of the language, but which, when applied to the extant manuscripts and the mural inscriptions, proved entirely insufficient to decipher them. ...
— The Maya Chronicles - Brinton's Library Of Aboriginal American Literature, Number 1 • Various

... quite decipher the expression of her face; but I was satisfied there was no jealousy therein. What business had I to ...
— The Tenant of Wildfell Hall • Anne Bronte

... the Queen of Naples. On the second of these two trips, being obliged to travel night and day, I could only keep my eyes open by means of the strongest coffee. When I reached my destination I was immediately compelled to decipher the despatches with the Queen of Naples in the office of the Secretary of State. That done, General Acton ordered some one, I know not whom, to conduct me, I know not where, but it was to a place where, ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XV. and XVI., Volume 6 • Madame du Hausset, and of an Unknown English Girl and the Princess Lamballe

... might, if properly directed, lead him nearer to the heart of the mystery. This pretty, faded woman who lived in such style, and whose husband was so seldom visible, might give him a key. Somewhere it was in existence, that key, by which he could decipher the jumbled code of the Daffodil Murder, and it might as well be at Hertford as ...
— The Daffodil Mystery • Edgar Wallace

... bark still clings to the under side. The dancing-hall is the great room of the building. All that the taste, art and wealth of that day could do, was done to make it a splendid apartment, and it would pass muster still as a comfortable and respectable salon. As we pass out, you may decipher the short prayer cut in the wasting stone over a side portal, "God Save the Vernons." I hope this prayer has been favorably answered; for history records much virtue in the family, mingled with some romantic escapades, ...
— Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume I. - Great Britain and Ireland • Various

... MS.—a common abbreviation—may be the name of the Oxford bookseller, and Henno Rusticus may be Homo rusticus, "the country gentleman." The hand-writing of this MS. is so small and illegible in some places, that it requires an Oedipus to decipher it; and the public will have much reason to thank those lynx-eyed antiquaries who have taken great pains to render it intelligible. "The Sige of the End," is of course properly explained to be ...
— Notes & Queries 1849.12.01 • Various

... the other a quarto volume. The records are written on vellum, in a close, abridged, and, to ordinary readers, a perfectly unintelligible character. The language is Latin; but a modern Latin scholar, without any means other than an inspection of the work, would be utterly unable to decipher it. In fact, though the character is highly wrought, and in some respects elegant, the whole style and arrangement of the work is pretty nearly on a par, in respect to scientific skill, with Queen Emma's designs upon the Bayeux tapestry. About half ...
— William the Conqueror - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... willingly promised that I have obliged him and Mrs Jem with codiniac and quince marmalett of my own making, do tell him how my father (which is unknown to him) have documents and papers which he would willingly decipher but for his bad Eyes. Wherein God forgive me, for his eyes are the best Part of him. Olde Mr Crosby thereon urgent that my father entrust him with the worke, but I sticking at the expense, no more said. ...
— The Ladies - A Shining Constellation of Wit and Beauty • E. Barrington

... polite learning, if that is what you think to decipher in my features. But it rains santi this morning," I added, ...
— Old Calabria • Norman Douglas

... entertainment. It was beautiful to the sight, being richly bound in silk and gold embroidery; but on opening it she soon found that there was little pleasure to be got from it on account of the difficulty she found in reading the crabbed handwriting. After spending some minutes in trying to decipher a paragraph or two she threw the book in ...
— Dead Man's Plack and an Old Thorn • William Henry Hudson

... hanging ears; His name is Harlequin, I wot, And that's a name in every plot: Resolved to save the British nation, Though French by birth and education; His correspondence plainly dated, Was all decipher'd and translated: His answers were exceeding pretty, Before the secret wise committee; Confest as plain as he could bark: Then with his fore-foot set his mark. TORY. Then all this while have I been bubbled, I thought it was a dog in doublet: The matter now ...
— Poems (Volume II.) • Jonathan Swift

... carpet-bag, and frequently a napkin would contain his entire wardrobe. In a small red pocketbook he kept his accounts and his papers, which represented an immense value, and nobody but himself could decipher the hieroglyphics which indicated his expenses and receipts. He cared not whether his apartment, at the inns on the road, was elegantly furnished or a mere garret, but he always kept the windows open in order to get an "air-bath," contrary to his ...
— Famous Violinists of To-day and Yesterday • Henry C. Lahee

... Desmaret's estates in the country; and there, under the good-natured authority of some village mayor to have gratified the sorrowful longing of his friend. Law, constitutional and administrative, begets nothing; it is a barren monster for peoples, for kings, and for private interests. But the peoples decipher no principles but those that are writ in blood, and the evils of legality will always be pacific; it flattens a nation down, that is all. Jacquet, a man of modern liberty, returned home reflecting on the benefits of ...
— Ferragus • Honore de Balzac

... of Roman art, lies buried the monumental boldness of the Phoenicians, or of a race of giants whose extinction even Homer deplores, and whose name even the Phoenicians could not decipher. For might they not, too, have stood here wondering, guessing, even as we moderns guess and wonder? Might not the Phoenicians have asked the same questions that we ask to-day: Who were the builders? and with what tools? In one of the ...
— The Book of Khalid • Ameen Rihani

... one but the Lord knows. After the dressmaker, and the milliner, and the jeweler, and the hair-adjuster, and the dancing-master, and the cosmetic art have completed their work, how is an unsophisticated man to decipher the physiological hieroglyphics, and make accurate judgment of who it is to whom he offers hand and heart? This is what makes so many recreant husbands. They make an honorable marriage contract, but the goods delivered are so different ...
— The Wedding Ring - A Series of Discourses for Husbands and Wives and Those - Contemplating Matrimony • T. De Witt Talmage

... midst of the ever-shifting social organism of humanity. The student must, therefore, know something of the habits, the natural and social surroundings, and the modes of the thought of the people whose stories he examines. But this known, it is not difficult to decipher ...
— The Science of Fairy Tales - An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology • Edwin Sidney Hartland

... he fell back against the wall, trying to comprehend it, to decipher the source and meaning of it all. He was still huddled back against the wall when a second surprise came to him. It was the discovery that Binhart had caught up a hat and a coat, and was running away, running out through the door while his captor ...
— Never-Fail Blake • Arthur Stringer

... Paule-Marie-Aurore. The baptismal festivities were planned by the Duc des Hoisons, grand master of the ceremonies, in accordance with a formulary dating from the Emperor Honorius, which was so mildewed and so nibbled by rats that it was impossible to decipher any of it. ...
— The Story Of The Duchess Of Cicogne And Of Monsieur De Boulingrin - 1920 • Anatole France

... Apparently they are innocent messages but they have a hidden meaning. The most difficult cipher messages, I have heard, are of the substitution kind, where many alphabets are used. It is pretty difficult to decipher such messages unless you ...
— The Secret Wireless - or, The Spy Hunt of the Camp Brady Patrol • Lewis E. Theiss

... progress of geology we perceive that there have been great fluctuations of opinion respecting the nature of the causes to which all former changes of the earth's surface are referable. The first observers conceived the monuments which the geologist endeavours to decipher to relate to an original state of the earth, or to a period when there were causes in activity, distinct, in a kind and degree, from those now constituting the economy of nature. These views were gradually modified, and some of ...
— The Harvard Classics Volume 38 - Scientific Papers (Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology) • Various

... you have been careful about the label, James. It was not possible to decipher it when smothered with dirt, but we can read it now. Yes, what I thought, original ticket without a doubt. Joseph filius. Bring me that bottle of benzine and the hog-hair brush." This being done, the chief takes the brush ...
— The Repairing & Restoration of Violins - 'The Strad' Library, No. XII. • Horace Petherick

... the present day: "During the progress of Geology, there have been great fluctuations of opinion respecting the nature of the causes to which all former changes in the earth's surface are referable. The first observers conceived that the monuments which the Geologist endeavors to decipher relate to a period when the physical constitution of the earth differed entirely from the present, and that, even after the creation of living beings, there have been causes in action distinct in kind ...
— Modern Atheism under its forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws • James Buchanan

... been hard for the expert in physiognomy to decipher Raisky's characteristics, inclinations and character from his face because of its extraordinary mobility. Still less could his mental physiognomy be defined. He had moments when, to use his own expression, he embraced ...
— The Precipice • Ivan Goncharov

... accumulation of materials went on as before, a new set of animals and plants were introduced, and a time of building up and renewing followed the time of destruction. These periods of revolution are naturally more difficult to decipher than the periods of rest; for they have so torn and shattered the beds they uplifted, disturbing them from their natural relations to each other, that it is not easy to reconstruct the parts and give them coherence and completeness again. But within the last half-century ...
— Young Folks' Library, Volume XI (of 20) - Wonders of Earth, Sea and Sky • Various

... hand, the aristocrats in all the various ministries looked upon him as a dangerous Mephistopheles, courted him, and gave him back with usury the flatteries he bestowed in the higher sphere. As difficult to decipher as a hieroglyphic inscription to the clerks, the vocation of the secretary and his usefulness were as plain as the rule of three to the self-interested. This lesser Prince de Wagram of the administration, to ...
— Bureaucracy • Honore de Balzac

... decipher the substance of the manuscript as well as I could, and move it into the following Tale, in which, following in part, though not entirely, my friend Tinto's advice, I endeavoured to render my narrative rather ...
— Bride of Lammermoor • Sir Walter Scott

... excite yourself too much by racking your memory to decipher the details of the past," returned Wagner. "I dare not stay another minute with you now: therefore listen attentively to what more I have to say. Yield yourself not up to despondency—on the contrary, cherish every hope that is dear to you. Within a few ...
— Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf • George W. M. Reynolds

... had tracked me to a standstill. Should I wait for him? I looked at the kneeling figure. So absorbed was the strange young Indian in the document on the floor that I strained my eyes to make out its script, but could not decipher even the corner of the paper exposed to my view. Then it occurred to me that it was a strange thing for an Indian to read. Scarce one among the Iroquois, save Brant and the few who had been to Dr. Wheelock's school, knew A from Zed, or could more than scrawl ...
— The Reckoning • Robert W. Chambers

... Agriculture, and Dr. Samuel Denton of the first Medical Faculty, are commemorated by the little weather-beaten monument with the broken shaft, which has doubtless aroused the idle curiosity of thousands of students, who have never taken the trouble, however, to decipher the Latin inscriptions which set forth the life records of ...
— The University of Michigan • Wilfred Shaw

... were confined here as a lunatic; why the daughters of Marshal Simon were imprisoned in a convent. Then a thousand recollections returned to my mind; fragments of letters and statements, which had been given me to copy or decipher, and of which I had never been able to find the explanation, put me on the track of this odious machination. To express then and there the sudden horror I felt at these crimes, would have been to ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... that I want to pry, either, but if I am to help you I must see that letter. If you trust me and believe in my friendship, let me see it. Perhaps I may be able to discover the key in the first word or two, and then you can decipher it for yourself. You understand, I don't wish you to show it to me unless you really have confidence in me, unless you are sure that there is nothing in it which one who has your welfare and peace of mind ...
— The Crevice • William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

... irony, he is purposely enigmatic—all of which require an Atticus who knew him and the people among whom he had lived, and the times in which the events took place, for their special reading. Who is there can read them now so as accurately to decipher every intended detail? Then comes some critic who will not even attempt to read them—who rushes through them by the light of some foregone conclusion, and missing the point at which the writer subtly aims, tells us of some purpose of which he was altogether innocent! Because he jokes about ...
— The Life of Cicero - Volume II. • Anthony Trollope

... the very womb from that wery sin which all others are born wt, that at the moment of hir conception she receaved a immense degrie of grace infused in her. If he ware to draw the Horoscope of all others that are born he would decipher it thus, thou sal be born to misery, angoiss, trouble and vexation of spirit, which, on they wery first entering into this walley of tears, because thou cannot tell it wt they tongue thou sal signify by thy weiping. But if I ware, sayes he, to cast our charming Ladies ...
— Publications of the Scottish History Society, Vol. 36 • Sir John Lauder

... behind the door. It was of a lady leaning against an urn, a weeping-willow tree near by. The lady held a handkerchief in her hand and looked very sorrowful. Edna wondered why she seemed so sad. There were some words written below but they were too faint for her to decipher, and she determined to ask her grandmother about this picture which she had never noticed before. While she was still looking at it, Reliance came to the door to say, "I can go now; I've finished what I had to do." Edna turned with alacrity ...
— A Dear Little Girl's Thanksgiving Holidays • Amy E. Blanchard

... under the towers of my fathers,' said Bertram, 'that I landed some days since, in circumstances much resembling those of a vagabond! Its mouldering turrets and darksome arches even then awakened thoughts of the deepest interest, and recollections which I was unable to decipher. I will now visit them again with other feelings, and, I trust, other ...
— Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... that the calculation which enabled me to decipher the manuscript furnished me also with the key, but the whim took me to tell her that a spirit had revealed it to me. This foolish tale completed my mastery over this truly learned and sensible woman on everything but ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... he knows both what is past and what is to come? the destinies of men? and could tell me how happy or unhappy the cast of my future life is to be? whether certain secret wishes can be accomplisht? Would he then be able to decipher and divine such parts of my history as are obscure even ...
— The Old Man of the Mountain, The Lovecharm and Pietro of Abano - Tales from the German of Tieck • Ludwig Tieck

... of much labor we have been able to decipher a morsel which we give to the public: and of the authenticity of which there can be no doubt. We render homage to the brave French army to ...
— The Satyricon, Complete • Petronius Arbiter

... subjective ideas which dwell in the human reason, as the offspring of God, are "copies" of the ideas of the Infinite Reason—if the universe be "the autobiography of the Infinite Spirit which has also repeated itself in miniature within our finite spirit," then may we decipher its symbols, and read its lessons straight off. Then every approach towards a scientific comprehension and generalization of the facts of the universe must carry us upward towards the higher realities ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... He is a countryman of thine, Thora. What writing is this on earth? I can scarce decipher ...
— Poems • Adam Lindsay Gordon

... neither the Caliph nor his Grand Vizier could make out. The Caliph immediately decided that he wanted this strange scroll, and the peddler was persuaded to part with it for a trifle. Then the Vizier was asked to find some one to decipher its meaning. ...
— Childhood's Favorites and Fairy Stories - The Young Folks Treasury, Volume 1 • Various

... reported by Major Frederick Burnham, of the British Army. Later Major Burnham revisited it, and Mr. Holder accompanied him, their purpose to decipher the inscriptions upon it, ...
— The Book of the Damned • Charles Fort

... very few. At the present day, "the merchants do not even possess the rudiments of an education. Many of them can neither read nor write and are forced to keep their accounts in their memory, or by means of ingenious hieroglyphics, intelligible only to their inventors. Others can decipher the calendar and the lives of the saints, and can sign their name with tolerable facility. They can make the simpler arithmetical calculations with the help of a little calculating ...
— Rabbi and Priest - A Story • Milton Goldsmith

... of our inner consciousness, and yet we call music a divine art! I love the written notes, the symbols of the musical idea. Music, like some verse, sounds sweeter on paper, sweeter to the inner ear. Music overheard, not heard, is the more beautiful. Palimpsestlike we strive to decipher and unweave the spiral harmonies of Chopin, but they elude as does the sound of falling waters in a dream. Those violet bubbles of prismatic light that the Sarmatian composer blows for us are too fragile, too intangible, too spirit-haunted to be played. [All this sounds as if I were really trying ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... are a great many brief notices in this diary relative to Jane Dee, most of which are expressed in astrological symbols; and as they are exceedingly difficult to decipher satisfactorily, and are certainly of very little, if any importance, I have thought it expedient to omit them. The entry of "Vnar unq gurz" is also of frequent occurrence, though what "gurz" can refer to I have not ...
— The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee - And the Catalog of His Library of Manuscripts • John Dee

... she, 'is the sole time in which we can well decipher the decrees of Fate—then it is thou must seek me. But what desirest ...
— The Last Days of Pompeii • Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

... The mosquitoes were singing their nightly chorus, and the situation reports were coming in from the battalions in the line. With his hair sizzling in the flame of the candle, the Brigade Orderly Officer who was on duty for the night tried to decipher the feathery scrawl ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152, February 28, 1917 • Various

... were seized by the police. They were restored to the editors three months later. The work was one in the performance of which many Frenchmen took pride. It is said that the Jesuits had tried to continue it, but had failed even to decipher the papers that had been taken from Diderot. The attack of the archbishop, who had fulminated against the great book in an episcopal charge, had served the purpose of an advertisement; such was the wisdom and consistency of the repressive police ...
— The Eve of the French Revolution • Edward J. Lowell

... his knees; and stooping forward in his chair, as if what he said were written on the ground in some half legible character, which it was his occupation to decipher ...
— The Chimes • Charles Dickens

... soon after married a Captain Shrimpton, who thus became possessed of a large collection of manuscripts. These were sold to a bookseller. They were so full of erasures and interlineations that no printer could decipher them. It was necessary to call in the aid of a professed critic; and Theobald, the editor of Shakspeare, and the hero of the first Dunciad, was employed to ascertain the true reading. In this way a volume of miscellanies in verse and prose was ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 2 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... it!" And I did so;—and look here, what an Answer from Choiseul (Answer lost): and may it not have a fine effect, and perhaps bring Peace—Oh, forgive me, Sire. But read that Note of the great man. "Try if you can decipher his writing. One may have very honest sentiments, and a great deal of ESPRIT, and yet write ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... outlook direct and simple as a child's. Remembering as I met them what Mrs. Molyneux had said, I saw and comprehended as well what she meant. Benevolence is but faintly inscribed, on the faces of most men, even of the better sort. "I will love you, my neighbour," we thereon decipher, "when I have attended to my own business, in the first place; if you are lovable, or at least likeable, in the second." But in the transparent gaze that Cecilia de Noel turned upon her fellows beamed love poured forth ...
— Cecilia de Noel • Lanoe Falconer

... you, as, MONSIEUR, Louis XIV.'s brother, said to his wife, to whom he was in the habit of showing what he had written and asking her to decipher it: See into my heart and mind, dear friend, disperse the mists, quiet the worries, and the flux and reflux of will which this affair stirs up in me. My poor Louise was mistaken, was she not? I am not a woman, am ...
— The Deputy of Arcis • Honore de Balzac



Words linked to "Decipher" :   read, rewrite, decrypt, encode, decode



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