mys·​te·​ri·​ous | \ mi-ˈstir-ē-əs How to pronounce mysterious (audio) \

Definition of mysterious

1a : of, relating to, or constituting mystery the mysterious ways of God
b : exciting wonder, curiosity, or surprise while baffling efforts to comprehend or identify : mystifying heard a mysterious noise a mysterious stranger a mysterious plane crash a mysterious illness
2 : stirred by or attracted to the inexplicable … to help a mysterious wizard … ward off the end of the world with blood sacrifices.— Robert Houston

Other Words from mysterious

mysteriousness noun

Examples of mysterious in a Sentence

the mysterious ways of nature We heard a mysterious noise outside our tent. He died under mysterious circumstances. A mysterious illness has been spreading through the city. There's something mysterious about that old woman. Her behavior was very mysterious.
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Recent Examples on the Web The series will examine how a young woman’s mysterious death during an idyllic Caribbean vacation creates a traumatic ripple effect that eventually pulls her surviving sister into a dangerous pursuit of the truth. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Jan. 2022 In 2020 Yu and his colleagues showed self-interacting dark matter could enhance the tidal-stripping effects postulated to have removed the mysterious substance from DF2 and DF4. Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American, 22 Dec. 2021 Among other topics, this sequel will explore life after Tiger King for some of the series' subjects, more on the mysterious case of Baskin's missing husband Don Lewis, and the absurd saga of Exotic's almost-pardon from President Donald Trump. Ew Staff,, 17 Nov. 2021 If a mysterious case of disease were to appear in a human, lab workers could sequence the virus’ genome and try to match it to a virus in the biobank, speeding up efforts to contain it. Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2021 One such narrative involved a story that a security guard had been injected with a mysterious substance while working the event. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2021 There's still little information about the mysterious case. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 10 Nov. 2021 Anderson, meanwhile, walked over to a huge black box, roughly the size of a filing cabinet, the kind of mysterious case a magician might drag onstage for the final trick of the night. New York Times, 6 Oct. 2021 New details in the mysterious case of four people found fatally shot in an SUV in Wisconsin have been revealed. Naledi Ushe,, 21 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mysterious.' 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 mysterious

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for mysterious

mystery entry 1 + -ous, probably after Middle French mysterieux

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Time Traveler for mysterious

Time Traveler

The first known use of mysterious was in 1578

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Statistics for mysterious

Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mysterious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for mysterious



English Language Learners Definition of mysterious

: strange, unknown, or difficult to understand


mys·​te·​ri·​ous | \ mi-ˈstir-ē-əs How to pronounce mysterious (audio) \

Kids Definition of mysterious

: strange, unknown, or hard to understand or explain a mysterious noise a mysterious stranger

Other Words from mysterious

mysteriously adverb She mysteriously disappeared.

More from Merriam-Webster on mysterious

Nglish: Translation of mysterious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mysterious for Arabic Speakers


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