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 enigmatical (audio) also  ˌē-​(ˌ)nig-​ \

Definition of enigmatic

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

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Other Words from enigmatic

enigmatically \ ˌe-​(ˌ)nig-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce enigmatically (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

When it comes to things that aren't clearly understandable, you have a wide range of word choices, including dark, enigmatic,cryptic, and equivocal. Of these, dark is the most sinister, implying an imperfect or clouded revelation, often with ominous overtones. Enigmatic (which traces back to Greek ainissesthai, meaning "to speak in riddles") emphasizes a puzzling, mystifying quality, whereas cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. Equivocal is the best choice for language that is left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web On 20 October, after several years of patient study of its enigmatic target, NASA’s $800 million spacecraft will finally stretch out its robotic arm, swoop to the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, and sweep up some dust and pebbles. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "A NASA mission is about to capture carbon-rich dust from a former water world," 8 Oct. 2020 André Courrèges, the house’s enigmatic founder, started his career at Balenciaga under Cristobal in the 1950s before taking his own brand of Space Age futurism global in the ’60s . Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Nicolas Di Felice, A Protégé of Nicolas Ghesquière, Has Been Named Artistic Director of Courrèges," 10 Sep. 2020 One show, enigmatic and spine-tingling, is Julianne Swartz’s Tonal Tunnel. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Mass MoCA, the World’s Biggest Contemporary Art Museum, Looks Fantastic," 23 Sep. 2020 Why, 46 years after its creation, is the enigmatic cube still so engaging? Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "How would Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom redesign TikTok as CEO?," 22 Sep. 2020 Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the enigmatic, longtime Supreme Court justice who attained near cult-like status among progressive circles, died Friday at the age of 87 from complications surrounding metastatic pancreas cancer. Bill Mears, Fox News, "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87," 19 Sep. 2020 Thule’s enigmatic and complicated history begins in the fourth century BCE, when the ancient Greek explorer Pytheas left the port city of Massalia—now Marseille, France—in search of new trading opportunities in the Far North. F. Salazar, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Norwegian Island Claims to be the Fabled Land of Thule," 8 Sep. 2020 Kaufman's enigmatic and absurd worlds—from Adaptation to Being John Malkovich to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—often hinge on big concepts and even bigger ideas. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "I’m Thinking of Ending Things," 7 Sep. 2020 The addition of the Kennedy assassination tosses Umbrella Academy — a series already bubbling with paranoid characters — into one of the most enigmatic and enduring conspiracy theories of the last century. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "The End Of The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Is The Ultimate JFK Conspiracy Theory," 1 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of enigmatic

1609, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enigmatic

see enigma

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Time Traveler for enigmatic

Time Traveler

The first known use of enigmatic was in 1609

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enigmatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enigmatic. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for enigmatic

enigmatic

adjective
How to pronounce enigmatic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enigmatic

: full of mystery and difficult to understand

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