enigmatic

adjective
enig·​mat·​ic | \ ˌe-(ˌ)nig-ˈma-tik How to pronounce enigmatic (audio) also ˌē-(ˌ)nig- \
variants: or less commonly enigmatical \ ˌe-​(ˌ)nig-​ˈma-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce enigmatic (audio) also  ˌē-​(ˌ)nig-​ \

Definition of enigmatic

: of, relating to, or resembling an enigma : mysterious

Other Words from enigmatic

enigmatically \ ˌe-​(ˌ)nig-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce enigmatic (audio) also  ˌē-​(ˌ)nig-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for enigmatic

obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge. obscure poems dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion. muttered dark hints of revenge vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration. a vague sense of obligation enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality. enigmatic occult writings cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. cryptic hints of hidden treasure ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation. an ambiguous directive equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading. moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

The Origin of Enigmatic Isn't a Mystery

An enigma is a puzzle, a riddle, a mystery. The adjective enigmatic describes what is hard to solve or figure out. An enigmatic person is someone who is a bit mysterious to others. Behind an enigmatic smile are thoughts impossible to guess. The word enigma originally referred not to people or smiles but to words, and specifically to words that formed a riddle or a complicated metaphor that tested one's alertness and cleverness. This meaning is clearly connected to the word's origin. Enigma comes from the Greek word ainissesthai, meaning "to speak in riddles."

Examples of enigmatic in a Sentence

Space seethes with an enormous enigmatic energy, and, each second, trillions of cubic light-years more of it materializes from nothingness. — Bob Berman, Astronomy, November 2007 You'll recognize them by their enigmatic smile and faraway look as they jog, skate, commute, or wander the aisles of the supermarket. Consumer Reports, December 2005 Despite all that has been written—and surmised—about him, Bill Gates remains the enigmatic ringmaster of the digital circus. — J. D. Reed, People, 15 Mar. 1999 the discovery of the abandoned ship in mid ocean remains one of the most enigmatic episodes in seafaring history the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile
Recent Examples on the Web His reply is consciously enigmatic, as hard to pin down as those darting firefly trails in his artworks. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 25 Apr. 2022 Knowledge worker productivity is inherently enigmatic and almost impossible to quantify. Mark Settle, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 The loglines for each episode, the official descriptions, are enigmatic and difficult to parse. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Telling Her Tale: The show is built around Holmes’s enigmatic figure. New York Times, 22 Mar. 2022 Tilda Swinton, with her androgynous features and inquiring gaze, was able to masterfully interpret this enigmatic figure: a character who embodied the idea of ​​liberating themselves from the constructs of prescriptive gender and social norms. Rica Cerbarano, Vogue, 26 Feb. 2022 The auction also brings out an enigmatic figure in Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing), who appears to be one step ahead of the women until the explosive climax in a luxury hotel. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Jan. 2022 The other part is how enigmatic the Hawks have been on the road. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 Holbein’s Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, from 1526–28, is so enigmatic. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enigmatic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of enigmatic

1609, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enigmatic

see enigma

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The first known use of enigmatic was in 1609

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Dictionary Entries Near enigmatic

enigma

enigmatic

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Enigmatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enigmatic. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on enigmatic

Nglish: Translation of enigmatic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enigmatic for Arabic Speakers

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