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CIPHER. An arithmetical character, used for numerical notation. Vide Figures, and 13 Vin. Ab. 210; 18 Eng. C. L. R. 95; 1 Ch. Cr. Law, 176.
     2. By cipher is also understood a mode of secret writing. Public ministers and other public agents frequently use ciphers in their correspondence, and it is sometimes very useful so to correspond in times of war. A key is given to each minister before his departure, namely, the cipher for writing ciphers, (chiffre chiffrant,) and the cipher for deciphering (chiffre dechiffrant.) Besides these, it is usual to give him a common cipher, (chiffre banal,) which is known to all the ministers of the same power, who occasionally use it in their correspondence with each other.
     3. When it is suspected that, a cipher becomes known to the cabinet where the minister is residing, recourse is had to a preconcerted sign in order to annul, entirely or in part, what has been written in cipher, or rather to indicate that the contents are to be understood in an inverted or contrary sense. A cipher of reserve is also employed in extraordinary cases.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
She could no longer sit still, and actually struck the table with her fist when the croupier cried out, "Trente-six," instead of the desiderated zero.
Sometimes zero does not turn up for two hundred rounds in succession.
"But the rules do not allow of more than 120 gulden being staked upon zero at a time."
Monsieur, monsieur--" here she nudged the croupier who was sitting on her left, and preparing to spin-- "combien zero? Douze?
"Does she again think that zero is going to be the winning coup?" thought I, as I stared at her in astonishment.
Of course this was a rare occasion--an occasion on which zero had turned up no less than three times within a dozen rounds; yet in such an event there was nothing so very surprising, seeing that, only three days ago, I myself had been a witness to zero turning up THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION, so that one of the players who was recording the coups on paper was moved to remark that for several days past zero had never turned up at all!
'Explanations, I always think, are the zero on the roulette-board of life.
Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation (the 'Foundation'), today named its inaugural cohort of innovators, selected from nearly 400 applicants who submitted interest earlier this year during the first-ever open call.
BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao has given Zero Hour Notice over "establishment of a major port at Ramayapatnam, Andhra Pradesh", while Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP, Manoj Jha gave Zero Hour Notice over "setting aside the principle of social justice in the ongoing admission process at universities".
Zero is fast, easy to use and powerful - its intuitive design has the functionality consumers expect from a modern mobile banking app in addition to offering access to the cash back rewards expected with a credit card.
The ratings go from zero to five - zero means urgent improvement is necessary, and five shows the business was seen as very good.