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

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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

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 During this period, the enigmatic Hyksos dynasty ruled for more than a century before ceding control to the returning pharaohs. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Archaeologists Discover 110 Ancient Egyptian Tombs Along the Nile Delta," 28 Apr. 2021 Some of the differences may relate to their acute vision in low-light environments, but others remain enigmatic. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "Why Did They Vanish?," 27 Apr. 2021 The content and language of those fake accounts are glossed over, and Felix’s enigmatic personality stays blurry from start to finish. Gemma Sieff, Harper's Magazine, "Sapphires of the Instant," 27 Apr. 2021 By this point, almost everyone has heard of QAnon, the conspiracy spawned by an anonymous online poster of enigmatic prophecies. Sophie Bjork-james, Chron, "QAnon hasn't gone away - it's alive and kicking in states across the country," 26 Apr. 2021 There are other series that work on a need-to-know basis — series that are enduringly enigmatic and series with protagonists who refuse to explain themselves and series that are always a couple beats ahead of their audience. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, "The Nevers Recap: Hold the Phone," 25 Apr. 2021 The Brooklyn ceramicist works on a wheel and by hand in search of her fierce, enigmatic forms. WSJ, "11 Black Sculptural Home Objects to Create a Lyrical, Dramatic Effect," 25 Apr. 2021 In December, it was announced that Christian Bale would be bringing his enigmatic energy to the role of supervillain Gorr the God-Butcher. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, "Russell Crowe has revealed his role in 'Thor: Love & Thunder'," 23 Apr. 2021 The album, which showcased Mr. Steinman’s bombastic style and elaborate, enigmatic lyrics, quickly rose to No. 1, selling more than 10 million copies. BostonGlobe.com, "Jim Steinman, composer of hit records for Meat Loaf, dies at 73," 21 Apr. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enigmatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enigmatic. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for enigmatic

enigmatic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of enigmatic

: full of mystery and difficult to understand

Comments on enigmatic

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