/ kəʊd; NAmE koʊd/ noun , verb
[ C , U ] (often in compounds) a system of words, letters, numbers or symbols that represent a message or record information secretly or in a shorter form :
to break / crack a code (= to understand and read the message)
It's written in code .
Tap your code number into the machine.
In the event of the machine not operating correctly, an error code will appear.
—see also area code , bar code , Morse code , postcode , ZIP code , sort code
[ C ] = dialling code :
There are two codes for London.
[ U ] ( computing ) a system of computer programming instructions
—see also machine code , source code
[ C ] a set of moral principles or rules of behaviour that are generally accepted by society or a social group :
a strict code of conduct
[ C ] a system of laws or written rules that state how people in an institution or a country should behave :
the penal code
—see also dress code , Highway Code
■ verb [ vn ]
to write or print words, letters, numbers, etc. on sth so that you know what it is, what group it belongs to, etc. :
Each order is coded separately.
to put a message into code so that it can only be understood by a few people
( computing ) to write a computer program by putting one system of numbers, words and symbols into another system
Middle English : via Old French from Latin codex , codic- literally block of wood , later denoting a block split into leaves or tablets for writing on, hence a book. The term originally denoted a systematic collection of statutes made by Justinian or another of the later Roman emperors; compare with sense 5 (mid 18th cent.), the earliest modern sense.