AskDefine | Define encoding

Dictionary Definition

encoding n : the activity of converting from plain text into code [syn: encryption]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "computing": The way in which symbols are mapped onto bytes, e.g. in the rendering of a particular font, or in the mapping from keyboard input into visual text.



  1. present participle of encode

Extensive Definition

Encoding is the process of transforming information from one format into another. The opposite operation is called decoding.
There are a number of more specific meanings that apply in certain contexts:
  • Encoding (in cognition) is a basic perceptual process of interpreting incoming stimuli; technically speaking, it is a complex, multi-stage process of converting relatively objective sensory input (e.g., light, sound) into subjectively meaningful experience.
  • Character encoding is a code that pairs a set of natural language characters (such as an alphabet or syllabary) with a set of something else, such as numbers or electrical pulses.
  • Text encoding uses a markup language to tag the structure and other features of a text to facilitate processing by computers. (See also Text Encoding Initiative.)
  • Semantics encoding of formal language A in formal language B is a method of representing all terms (e.g. programs or descriptions) of language A using language B.
  • Electronic encoding transforms a signal into a code optimized for transmission or storage, generally done with a codec.
  • Neural encoding is the way in which information is represented in neurons.
  • Memory encoding is the process of converting sensations into memories.
  • Encryption transforms information for secrecy.

See also

encoding in French: Encodage
encoding in Japanese: エンコード
encoding in Finnish: Enkoodaus
encoding in Chinese: 编码
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