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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Yeah, there were a number of mysterious deaths surrounding Project Blue Book. Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Project Blue Book' Cast and Creators Talk UFO Sightings and Alien Mysteries: "I Don't Look at the Night Sky the Same Way"," 8 Jan. 2020 Confusion is growing around a series of mysterious deaths and the disappearances of a 7-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl that tie back to a couple who have since vanished themselves. Rebecca Boone, azcentral, "Family members detail how life unraveled around 2 missing children," 8 Jan. 2020 After performing miracles, the mysterious man who is called al-Masih begins to amass a following that includes Owen's Rebecca, the troubled daughter of a struggling Texas pastor (John Ortiz). Shannon Carlin,, "Messiah’s Stefania LaVie Owen Has Big Things Coming Her Way In 2020," 2 Jan. 2020 Set on a night of violence in the city, November introduces the reader to three normal women who are thrust into a dangerous noir situation that involves a mysterious man connected to the criminal underground. Christian Holub,, "The best comics of 2019," 20 Dec. 2019 Gomez’s play follows Son, who after a decade, returns home to the U.S./Mexican border searching for answers about his uncle’s mysterious death. Hannah Herrera Greenspan,, "Booked it! Chicago theater casting announcements for Dec. 12," 12 Dec. 2019 Learn More About Riverdale's Most Colorful Characters: Most likely, Jug's disappearance has to do with the mysterious deaths of the Baxter Brother authors. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Did Betty, Veronica, and Archie Kill Jughead??," 5 Dec. 2019 Produced on a $40 million budget, Knives Out—released in US theaters by Lionsgate tomorrow—is a throwback whodunit about a dysfunctional family that gathers after the mysterious death of its wealthy patriarch, a famous crime novelist. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Hollywood doesn’t make movies like “Knives Out” anymore," 26 Nov. 2019 The City of Mobile animal shelter reopened Monday afternoon after being forced to close last week due to the mysterious death of two dogs. Christopher Harress |, al, "Mobile animal shelter reopens after 2 dogs die mysteriously," 29 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mysterious

Time Traveler for mysterious

Time Traveler

The first known use of mysterious was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Statistics for mysterious

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mysterious.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mysterious


How to pronounce mysterious (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on mysterious

What made you want to look up mysterious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!