The 1944 Bletchley Park Cryptographic Dictionary

Editorial page

Tony Sale's
Codes and Ciphers

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It seems desirable to point out that this present edition of the Cryptographic Dictionary is not as complete or as useful, or even, perhaps, as accurate, as such a work of reference should be. It has been in course of preparation for a whole year, but for the greater part of that period the Editor has been engaged on other work.

The sources used for the vocabulary have been practical cryptography in the Research Section, various documents and reports in the Cryptographic Co-ordination and Records Section, and numerous supplementary contributions from different cryptographic sections to which the Editor had recourse for explanations of terms used in reports.

Words have been considered from the cryptographer's point of view rather than that of the cipher-maker or cipher-user. Various classes of words, e.g. key names, and cover names have been deliberately omitted. American words and meanings have also been omitted, except when they appear to have been adopted in English cryptography.

Many cases of the misuse of technical terms have been brought to light, and some attempt has been made to indicate the most glaring of these misuses. With fuller information about present usage this could be extended with a view to regularising terminology at least to the extent of avoiding needless ambiguity; but some of the senses here designated as 'misuses' are too firmly established to be changed. There is no doubt but that the clear versions of cipher messages will continue to be called 'decodes' , and second encipherments of messages 're-encodements', however strongly the usage is condemned.

The dictionary, then, as now presented, is little more than an indication of what a cryptographic dictionary should be; but it is hoped that its limited circulation now will evoke criticisms and suggestions both on details, which are incorrect or absent, and on the scope and functions which a work of this kind should have. They will be gratefully received and, when circumstances permit, will be utilized to produce a mere complete and useful edition.

20th July, 1944

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