I'm currently writing my bachelor thesis and explain some algorithms where the XOR-operation is used.

Can I use "XORing" or "XORed" in my thesis or is this too informal?

For example: "xoring the plaintext with the stream cipher results in the cypher text" and "the plaintext is XORed with the stream cipher..."

Also what would be the correct way to write it? Completly lowercase or with an uppercase XOR?

Hope this is the right community to ask this question.


Some useful guidelines for writing are:

  • Who is my audience?
  • Will my audience understand what I am writing?
  • Will my usage of language be distracting or otherwise take attention away from the message I'm trying to make?

In this case, your audience is probably another computer scientist who has at least some knowledge of your area. Therefore, yes, I would expect that another computer scientist will understand your meaning if you write "XORing" or "XORed". Also, it's common enough that I don't think it will be distracting. Whether it's too information is perhaps a bit subjective, but I don't view it as too informal.

I've seen it both ways: "xoring" and "XORing". Personally, I find the all-caps jarring, so my eye prefers "xoring", but I think that is a matter of taste.

Note that "ciphertext" is normally spelled that as one word, and with an "i", not a "y". Right: "ciphertext". Wrong: "cyphertext", "cypher text", "cipher text".

  • $\begingroup$ "cypher" is a completely acceptable alternative spelling; it may well be less common but it's not wrong. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Mar 24 '16 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby, OK. Personally, I don't think I've ever seen a cryptography paper or textbook use "cyphertext". $\endgroup$ – D.W. Mar 24 '16 at 6:16

People will know what you mean, but "XOR" is a noun, and verbing it into the word "XORing" is a little crass.

Usually authors will explain that bits are "combined using the exclusive-OR operation" and then speak of "combining", or something like that.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Life is too short to combine using the exclusive-OR operation. There is absolutely no need to use so many words for such a simple concept. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Mar 24 '16 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ "combining using the exclusive-OR operation" to me includes many many operations different from XOR. $\endgroup$ – gnasher729 Dec 24 '19 at 8:36

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