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

Epstein’s dinner party with members of New York City’s media elite also took place after the enigmatic financier had paid out millions of dollars in settlements to seven of those victims, the 2011 Daily Beast report added. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Jeffrey Epstein’s social contacts with Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, other celebs scrutinized," 9 July 2019 The hearing instead will turn on dramatically different depictions of the enigmatic Martin, a Navy veteran, longtime government contractor — most recently at Booz Allen Hamilton — and doctoral candidate at the time of his arrest. Washington Post, "Mystery of NSA leak lingers as stolen document case winds up," 5 July 2019 When — spoiler alert — elemental monsters show up during the trip, and a new super-dude enters the scene in the enigmatic Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Ed Brackett, USA TODAY, "USWNT vs. England, E. Jean Carroll book goes on sale, 'Spider-Man: Far From Home': 5 things to know Tuesday," 2 July 2019 That's understandable: The Oscar winner joined an already A-list cast to deliver a truly stunning performance as Mary Louise, Celeste's (Nicole Kidman) enigmatic mother-in-law. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Just Give Laura Dern Every Award for Big Little Lies," 24 June 2019 You could be blessed with a windfall or an exciting chance to earn more cash on Thursday, when your financial ruler, the Sun, sextiles enigmatic Uranus. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your Horoscope This Week," 23 June 2019 All attention is thus drawn to her face, and that enigmatic expression. Susan Broomhall, Quartzy, "The secret to the Mona Lisa’s enduring allure," 15 June 2019 Here's how Hulu's describing the show: Based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Alexis Jones, Harper's BAZAAR, "Little Fires Everywhere: Everything We Know About the New Hulu Show," 14 June 2019 Stop searching for that enigmatic open outlet and just order a power strip to plug in all of your electronics. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Is Offering Tons of Power Strips on Sale Today," 3 June 2019

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

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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