I am a programmer, and I know it is fairly common that we say "to code" to roughly mean "to work with some body of code".

My question is if we can use this word for other kinds of code as well. For example,

There's something special about that song. It's got a secret message Morse coded into the percussion.

(code, meaning to represent the code) or

These blades code the character onto the ticker tape each time this rod is pulled low.

(code, meaning to cut the code into the paper) or

When you speak into this microphone, they will hear your voice next door. Instantaneously it is coded as an MP3 and streamed across the internet also.

(coded as, meaning recorded in the form of)

  • I've heard all three uses, though the second (the blade onto the tape) is uncommon. Apr 17, 2018 at 11:36
  • to code is to write a program. It isn't "work with a body of code. You write code. "It's got a secret message in Morse code in the percussion. The blades one doesn't make much sense to me. What do you mean by "blades"? Generally, codes are not coded. A code is a code. A message is "in code": it is a coded message. It is said to be encoded.
    – Lambie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 14:01
  • @Lambie to my mind, you could code a driver, a function, or database query, not necessarily a program. By blades I meant the sharp metal rods which punch holes in paper. If they're putting a byte or something onto paper tape then could they be said to be coding that byte? Apr 17, 2018 at 14:15
  • The point is that to code means to write code. If you code a driver, you are writing code for the driver. About the blades, for me, that sounds odd. If blades punch holes in paper, they are a metal form, aren't they? Each blade corresponds to one thing, doesn't it? They make marks on a piece of paper....dots.
    – Lambie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


You are using to code as a means of expressing an encoding of sorts. It would work in example 1 and 3, since to code is a synonym of to encrypt or to encode and because hiding Morse code in a song or converting something into MP3 would be considered that. I personally would use encoded in both scenarios, but they are almost identical in terms of their semantics.

Not so sure about the second one though, in my mind 'coding' isn't an action a blade would perform. Perhaps carving or simply writing onto would be better.

Edit: You could rephrase example 1 to:

There is a secret Morse code hidden in the percussion.

  • 1
    Almost identical, not identic.
    – Lambie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 13:59
  • @Lambie that's what I said. ^^
    – Levyce
    Apr 17, 2018 at 15:57
  • I see the word identic, the al does not appear on my screen. :)
    – Lambie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 16:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .