PRONUNCIATION: (ste-guh-NOG-ruh-fee)

MEANING: noun: The practice of concealing a message within another nonsecret message.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek stego- (cover) + -graphy (writing). Ultimately from the Indo-European root (s)teg- (to cover), which also gave us thatch, toga, stegosaurus, detect, and protect. Earliest documented use: 1569.

NOTES: Examples of steganography: Shrinking the secret text until it’s the size of a dot and then putting it in an unsuspected place, such as the dot on top of a letter i in some innocuous letter. Shaving the head of a man, writing the secret message on his pate with unwashable ink, and then letting the hair grow back before dispatching him to the destination (example from history). To take an example from modern digital techniques, one could put the text of a message in the blank spaces in an image file.

TEGANOGRAPHY - dermatographia ("skin-writing"; from tegmentum, fr. tegmen, fr. tegere)

SEGANOGRAPHY - images of a game console

STEGANOGRAPH - a picture of Saint Egan