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Morse code

This page is about the eponym Morse code

Meaning: a message system in which letters and numbers are represented by dots and dashes or long and short light or sound signals

For example:

  • Today, few people know how to decipher Morse code.

  • The telegraph that delivered Morse code paved the way for the telephone and the Internet.

It is interesting to note that Morse code was designed to speed transmission by making the code for the most common characters as short as possible. So for example, the most frequent letter in English, the vowel "E", is a single dot and the second most frequent, the consonant "T", is a single dash. The length and complexity of other characters is in approximate proportion to their frequency in English.

Origin: Samuel Morse (1791-1872) was an American inventor who helped develop the electronic telegraph and long-distance communication. He invented the code that bears his name. The dots and dashes made clicks and beeping sounds that conveyed the code to the telegraph operator.

Quick Quiz:

How can you decode printed Morse code?

a. by the dots and dashes that represent letters

b. by the clicks and beeps that represent sounds

c. by people's voices that come through the wires

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Contributor: Tara Benwell