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decipher (verb) decode; understand (handwriting).
When you decipher, you understand the matter written in a code language. More commonly, when you can read and understand what is written in bad and illegible handwriting, you decipher it. If you make out a doctor's prescription, you can decipher it. Only chemists and druggists can decipher doctors' prescriptions, which lay persons like us cannot understand.
- Archeologists have been trying for a long time to decipher the stone inscriptions, and the pictorial tablets, found at the sites of the Indus Valley excavations, but they have had little success so far.
- The professor's handwriting is so illegible that it is doubtful, if after a passage of time, he himself can decipher what he has written, and if he can, to what extent?