Do you have your own secret code of writing?

I was reading about this case of a man found murdered with a note written in code on his person that the FBI has not been able to decipher. I’m fascinated by codes but am not great at math myself. But I do have my own system of writing for when I want to take notes that I don’t want others to be able to read. If I somehow got murdered while I had one of these notes on my person, I don’t think the FBI would be able to crack it either, because I don’t use it to translate my english so much as the thoughts behind it.

I use a lot of word association, switching back and forth between encoded english words that I will mentally associate with the REAL thought, using written Japanese to either encode the associated word or to sound out something (certain Japanese characters remind me of things, for no reason the lesser-used hiragana for “o” means “cheese” to me), and also filipino.

It would be quite obviously a code if someone found one of my notes, but I intentionally made them subjective enough to be highly secure and unique to my thought process, but not so vague that I can’t remember what the associations are. It probably takes me 3-4x as long to write a coded message than it would to write in plain english, and maybe the same amount of time to decode, since the cipher is different everytime with not very many hard-fast rules.

Does anyone else have a writing system only for themselves? I’d be interested in descriptions, bonus points for examples!

I took ancient Greek way back in university (so long ago that it was called “modern Greek”, har har har).

I don’t remember any of the grammar or vocabulary, but I do remember the alphabet.

So on the very rare occasions when I want to write something that I don’t want others to read, I’ll write it in the Greek alphabet.

Τηισ ισ α σεχρετ μεσσαγε.

Certainly not the most uncrackable code in the world, but none of my friends and family know Greek, so they wouldn’t be able to read what I wrote at a glance.

Anyway, now that I’ve told you all that, I’m going to have to kill you. Sorry :frowning:

My dad used a c with a line over it to signify ‘with’ (from the latin cum) and an s with a line over it to signify without (from the latin sine). I used this shorthand for a few years until I realized that no-one knew what the hell I was going on about!

My secret code is such that with this sentence alone, I am violating no less than three (3) SDMB rules so egregiously that I should probably be banned.

Others have told me that my handwriting is a pretty good secret code all by itself.

Yes, I have one.

I gave a five paragraph sample to someone I knew who broke codes as a hobby and he got mad when he figured out it wasn’t a simply cypher. About 70 characters or so, and multiple ways of writing some words and I started making up abbreviations and such.

Um, yeah, probably more complicated than necessary. And not based on the Latin alphabet, either.

voooooo! :eek:

The c with a line over it to mean “with” is really common in medicine. Despite not being a nurse, I’ve probably been using that notation for close to 20 years.

And like Daylate, my writing is a passable cipher on its own. After a nerve injury, it’s become even hard to translate.

Oh my God. He likes Kenny G.


Way back in one of my times in a public school almost the entire 9th grade math class flunked and had to do summer school. For the first week everybody kept stealing my notebook to get the class notes, so I started keeping them in the greek alphabet … which kept people from stealing my notebook :smiley: In college I taught myself the cyrillic alphabet and occasionally will make notes in it still. I can also write backwards, but that is easier for people to read.

[the original teacher for 9th grade math broke his leg, and the department head decided to teach. Unfortunately he was normally the physics teacher, and the idiots found out that they could derail a class and get him to talk about pretty much anything except what the class was supposed to be about. Nice way to fuck the whole class including themselves over. Although I could calculate gear ratios quite well after that :smack:]

I used to write in semaphore as a kid- like they did in the Swallows and Amazons books, which is where I got it from, if anyone’s read them- little stick figures with proper semaphore arms, or sometime I’d just do the arm positions and a dot if needed to signify where the body was (or c and f would be the same for example).

I used to be able to read and write it at almost normal speed, and it would have been great in loud nightclubs, if I knew anyone else who knew it.

Yes, I do have a fantastic secret coding system, however I cannot divulge.

I also have one which is ridiculously complicated. It started as a kind of personal shorthand for note-taking, and then grew and grew. A few are ideographs, little jottings that vaguely resemble “key” or “fire” (to me). Others are based on associations: I use a capital sigma for “some” (sum, get it?). Together with a theta and a runic ng (ᛝ), it’s “something.” A number of common letters are written different ways.

Ɵᛋ ᛋ s⊕ o’ ⌊ﺭ ṫ ∧ö^ ∧∴
This is sort of what it looks like.

It’s very hard to type, but you get the idea. In this example, I think a cryptographer would figure out “this is” in microseconds, but the “looks like” is a bit harder (especially since L is ~, LL is ͌, -LY is ŷ, and -BLE is л. And greek lowercase lambda is “but,” or, reversed, “by.”) And even this simple example has four different ways of representing T.

My own handwriting is my secret code that no one but me can decipher.

I did not know that the c with a line over it was used in medical settings. After my Dad retired from the ministry, he worked as an orderly - so that’s probably where he got it from. I haven’t been to a hospital in about 40 years and don’t know any doctors or nurses, hence my ignorance. Its good to know my Dad got it from somewhere instead of being another crazy thing he made up …

When I was about 10 I invented a sort of code that depended on the date. I would do some sort of calculation using the date (I can’t remember what I did, I had actually forgotten all about it until I read this thread) and that changed the alphabet in a particular way. Come to think of it, I probably didn’t invent it, I probably read it in a book… It was fun though, I used to write notes like that, and little stories.

Then I also had an agreement with my friends. We all had nicknames that we always used for each other. If you ever got a note signed with the person’s real name you would know what clues to look for in the note. It would be things like using the first letters after certain words to make the real message. That was based on our exciting imaginary lives in which we were the famous five. The idea actually came from a Famous Five book where George signs a note to the others with “Georgina”, from which they understand she has been kidnapped and been forced to write a note.

Ah, those were the days :slight_smile:

Another one whose usual handwriting counts as code. Mind you, I also used to be the only person in the family able to decipher Abuelita’s (my paternal grandmother): when my father found out and told his brothers, I found myself having to read their mother’s postcards to them so they’d be able to talk about them intelligently when she returned from her trip.

I use some abbreviations, but nothing that would be inusual in Spanish. Of course, abbreviations which make sense in Spanish aren’t self-explanatory in English, oops.

The most unbreakable code I’ve ever used could not be broken without the cipher. Several of the courses I took in the first year of college went over material that we should already have seen in HS, but which not everybody had: I had, and several of my HS teachers were superb, so I had whole chapters of classnotes which said something like:

  • Chapter 2: Types of bonds.
    Nacho 1.

Nacho was my HS Chemistry physics, so that meant “it’s explained better in Chapter 1 of my 12th grade classnotes”.

Me and a friend (later two other friends joined in) came up with a code in high school. If you knew how it worked it was easy to read but if you didn’t it looked like meaningless symbols. But it was a simple substitution code so the CIA could have cracked it easy.

Later we did some derivative codes. One was based on the phonetic alphabet, so that might have been trickier to decipher. Another was a more free form rebus style, which I imagine would be near impossible without a rebus. And another was similar I guess to 733T speak in substitution.

We passed around a shared journal and used one code or another when appropriate. Also used it for nefarious things in my diary. When I went to college I created an ASCII version of the original code for emailing.

Here’s a few more from nursing that you might find helpful: a with line over =before, p with line=after, x with line =except, arrow up(↑) means more, increased elevated, arrow down (↓) means less, decreased, depressed as needed. This can speed up note taking in some classes by an surprising amount, but it’s not a secret code by any stretch of the imagination.

I don’t use any sort of codes. I go into a personal version of Stenoscript/ABC Shorthand when I’m writing notes fast, but that’s about it.