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

Fifty years after the Tate and LaBianca murders, and nearly two years after his own death at the age of 83, Hollywood is still enamored with the notion of Manson as an enigmatic, somewhat groovy villain with otherworldly powers of persuasion. Lorraine Ali, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: Charles Manson was a white supremacist. Why can’t pop culture seem to admit it?," 20 Aug. 2019 Fifty years after the Tate and LaBianca murders, and nearly two years after his own death at the age of 83, Hollywood is still enamored with the notion of Manson as an enigmatic, somewhat groovy villain with otherworldly powers of persuasion. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Charles Manson was a white supremacist. Why can’t pop culture seem to admit it?," 19 Aug. 2019 Despite having staged the reveals of much of Jack's once-enigmatic past as well as his tragic fate, Ventimiglia said there's still plenty of rich territory to explore in Jack's story. Scott Huver, CNN, "'This Is Us' cast promises the unexpected in Season 4," 14 Aug. 2019 Michigan has thrived during four seasons under enigmatic coach Jim Harbaugh, but the Wolverines haven’t won a Big Ten title since 2004. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 11 Michigan pushes to win elusive Big Ten title," 13 Aug. 2019 His Tristan is opaque, enigmatic, difficult to read and withdrawn. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Three Peaks’ is not a peak experience," 2 Aug. 2019 Expedition leader Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and Moysiuk place it in the radiodontans, a long-enigmatic group of extinct arthropods. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "‘Millennium Falcon’ predator soared across ocean floor at dawn of animal life," 30 July 2019 Jacy Rockafellow is a Russonian kind of woman: enigmatic, gorgeous, hard-edged, impossible not to fall in love with. David Canfield, EW.com, "Richard Russo's Chances Are... crams vintage themes into a dreary beachside mystery," 25 July 2019 Someone as beautiful, enigmatic, and musically talented as Sabine is pure catnip for Elodie. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix’s Trinkets Recap," 15 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

27 Aug 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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