Decipherment is the analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost.

It is closely related to cryptanalysis — the difference being that the original document was not deliberately written to be difficult to decipher.

The term has also been used to describe the analysis of the genetic code information encoded in DNA - see the Human Genome Project article for more on this.

Some people have also used the word metaphorically to mean something like 'understanding'.

Examples of successful script decipherment:

Famous documents that have been the subject of decipherments, successful or failed:

Famous decipherers:

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Decipherment — De*ci pher*ment, n. The act of deciphering. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • decipherment — index definition, solution (answer) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • decipherment — decipher ► VERB 1) convert from code into normal language. 2) succeed in understanding (something hard to interpret). DERIVATIVES decipherable adjective decipherment noun …   English terms dictionary

  • Decipherment of rongorongo — Tablet B Aruku kurenga, verso. One of four texts which provided the Jaussen list, the first attempt at decipherment. Made of Pacific rosewood, mid nineteenth century, Easter Island. (Collection of the SS.CC., Rome) There have been numerous… …   Wikipedia

  • Decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs — Demotic script on a replica of the Rosetta Stone …   Wikipedia

  • Decipherment of hieroglyphic writing — Until recently, the decipherment of hieroglyphs was hampered because those attempting to decipher the hieroglyphs assigned emotional meanings to the actual symbols used. For example, some people believed that the hieroglyph for son , a goose, was …   Wikipedia

  • decipherment — noun see decipher …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • decipherment — See decipherable. * * * …   Universalium

  • decipherment — noun The analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost …   Wiktionary

  • decipherment — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun Something that serves to explain or clarify: clarification, construction, elucidation, exegesis, explanation, explication, exposition, illumination, illustration, interpretation. Archaic: enucleation. See EXPLAIN …   English dictionary for students

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