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I was creating a domain for a website, but I couldn't understand the difference (if there is any) between the words coded and encoded.

What's the right use of them? Or are they just synonyms I can use interchangeably without worrying about context or register?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As this chart shows, both terms have become far more common over recent decades...

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My feeling is that encoded is associated with technical contexts where the method of encryption is more important than the encrypted information itself. Thus, from Google Books...

sent a coded message:4060 hits; sent an encoded message:62 hits.
(The human) genome is encoded (in DNA):311 hits; ...genome is coded...:49 hits.

In more metaphorical contexts ("She declined my offer of a drink at the bar, which I took as a coded message that she didn't fancy me"), I definitely wouldn't use encoded.

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They have slightly different connotations which you may want to pay attention to: coded is more frequently used to describe the action of coding (in past tense), while encoded is often first interpreted as an adjective describing something that has been, well, encoded. If you're a programmer, it's not very idiomatic to say "I encoded some sweet software" if you mean you wrote the code to it; and saying "That video file is coded" (instead of encoded) is misleading. So, if your dilemma is between www.peoplecodedlinux.com and www.peopleencodedlinux.com, the former is a better choice.

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First of all convert to current tense we have code and encode. Code - To write programs but also rarely used as encode. Encode - To transform into another format for various reasons including standards and application of the format. Or criptify. Never used as coding in context of creating programs.

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