codeword (plural codewords)

  1. (cryptography) A string representing an encoded piece of text.
    Bob cannot get any information out of the codeword since he doesn't know what transmission bases Alice used.
  2. A word or phrase (or by extension a concept) used to make a (concealed) reference to another word or concept.
    • 1993, The Economist:
      Even the most virtuous concepts were scrutinised by governments eager to interpret them as codewords for something unwelcome.
    • 2007, Rough Guides, The Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis, Rough Guides UK (ISBN 9781848363298), page 194:
      El Niño has hit the headlines as a codeword for bad weather, especially in the Pacific and California. But there is a little more to it than that.
    • 2013, Paul Vallely, Pope Francis: Untying the Knots, A&C Black (ISBN 9781472903716), page 379:
      The Catholic Church has had problems in the past with fluid notions of gender, most particularly at the United Nations where some groups have used gender as a codeword for reproductive health rights which are deemed to include abortion.
  3. A type of crossword puzzle where individual letters are represented by numbers and the solver must identify them by their position and frequency.

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