Let’s set the record straight.
Our studio is named “Cipher Prime”, not “Cypher Prime”. In interviews and reviews (and even in customer support emails), people frequently refer to us as “cypher prime,” perhaps mistakenly believing that we are incorrectly spelling in our own name. Let’s take a closer look at these two spelling variants to explain why we chose cipher prime over cypher prime.
What is a Cipher/Cypher?
The term “cipher” is most commonly used in cryptography. This versatile term can refer to the acts of encoding or decoding a secret message, or to the secret message itself.
Where did the variants come from?
The word we know today as cipher originated in the late 14th century from the Arabic word sifr, meaning “zero.” At this point in the English language (Middle English) the spellings of words were not yet explicitly defined, and writers commonly substituted i‘s for y‘s at will, hence the emergence of cypher as a variant for cipher.
However, after the Great Vowel shift and the standardization of spelling in the 15th and 16th centuries, many of the y’s that denoted “eye” sounds in English were replaced by i’s–hence the change of “wyf” to “wife,” and “cypher” to “cipher.”
Even so, cypher is still considered a valid variant of cipher in many orthographic circles today. Cypher is most popular in England, where it first emerged.
Why We Chose Cipher
Because we’re American, and because cipher is by far the most commonly used spelling, and because we think “cypher” looks kind of silly.