enigmatic

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

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) \ 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

Strange and beautiful, the book works thanks to the enigmatic power of Nahid Kazemi’s illustrations, which have an abundance of tiny details rendered with such colorful delicacy that the overall sense from page to page is of ethereal softness. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: The Travails and Triumphs of Derring-Do," 22 Feb. 2019 It's been under a year since Netflix reacquainted us with the saga of Rajneeshpuram, the enigmatic cult city lead by spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh—and with Ma Anand Sheela, his Machiavellian assistant. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Priyanka Chopra Is Developing a Wild Wild Country Movie. Here's What We Know So Far.," 31 Jan. 2019 Since then, astronomers have sought to find out what's causing these enigmatic bursts. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Repeating Radio Signals Are a Deep Space Mystery and Astronomers Just Found a Second One," 9 Jan. 2019 At the head of the longest table Andy’s wearing that enigmatic smile, that sidewise Andy smile, but Barry is the one who stands to speak. Ben Lowy, Smithsonian, "The Lionfish Have Invaded, But a Ragtag Army of Divers and Chefs Are Fighting Back," 23 May 2018 Liverpool were defeated 3-1 against Real Madrid in the Champions League Final on Saturday but their enigmatic manager Jurgen Klopp has remained his usual self despite the disappointing result. SI.com, "WATCH: Jurgen Klopp Celebrates With Liverpool Fans After UCL Defeat," 27 May 2018 That deal was made possible in part by a recent $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank, the Japanese technology group led by the enigmatic billionaire Masayoshi Son. David Gelles, New York Times, "The WeWork Manifesto: First, Office Space. Next, the World.," 17 Feb. 2018 On a rainy day men wore winter-weight burnooses with the large hoods drawn up—enigmatic Jedi-like figures in the medina's alleyways. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "T&C Travel: Best of Morocco," 30 Mar. 2015 But Hold the Dark is Saulnier’s most enigmatic and meditative film to date. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Hold the Dark throws Jeffrey Wright to the wolves," 28 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for enigmatic

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for enigmatic

The first known use of enigmatic was in 1609

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More Definitions for enigmatic

enigmatic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of enigmatic

: full of mystery and difficult to understand

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