a. A system of signals used to represent letters or numbers in transmitting messages.
b. A system of symbols, letters, or words given certain arbitrary meanings, used for transmitting messages requiring secrecy or brevity.
c. An access code.
d. A special command, such as a sequence of keystrokes, that allows a user to activate a hidden or accidental feature in a computer program or video game.
a. The information that constitutes a specific computer program.
b. A system of symbols and rules that serve as instructions for a computer.
3. Genetics The genetic code.
a. A systematically arranged and comprehensive collection of laws.
b. A systematic collection of regulations or rules of procedure or conduct: a building code.
5. Medicine Code blue.
6. Slang A patient whose heart has stopped beating, as in cardiac arrest.
v. cod·ed, cod·ing, codes
1. To convert (a message, for example) into code.
2. To systematize and arrange (laws and regulations) into a code.
3. To assign a code to (something) for identification or classification: coded each response to the survey by age and gender.
4. To express or convey (words) in a manner that implies a different meaning: a novel that codes references to a character's sexuality in descriptions of clothing.
a. To specify the genetic code for an amino acid or a polypeptide: a gene that codes for an enzyme.
b. To specify the genetic code for a trait or characteristic: a gene that codes for red hair.
2. Computers To write or revise a computer program.
3. Slang To go into cardiac arrest.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin cōdex, book; see CODEX.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.