noun mys·tery \ ˈmis-t(ə-)rē \

Definition of mystery

plural mysteries
1 a : a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand
  • the mystery of the Trinity
b (1) : any of the 15 events (such as the Nativity, the Crucifixion, or the Assumption) serving as a subject for meditation during the saying of the rosary
(2) capitalized : a Christian sacrament; specifically : eucharist
c (1) : a secret religious rite believed (as in Eleusinian and Mithraic cults) to impart enduring bliss to the initiate
(2) : a cult devoted to such rites
2 a : something not understood or beyond understanding : enigma
  • The mystery of his disappearance has never been solved.
b obsolete : a private secret
c : the secret or specialized practices or ritual peculiar to an occupation or a body of people
  • the mysteries of the tailor's craft
d : a piece of fiction dealing usually with the solution of a mysterious crime
  • Reading mysteries was her favorite pastime.
3 : profound, inexplicable, or secretive quality or character
  • the mystery of her smile
  • the mysteries and beauties of nature

Origin and Etymology of mystery

Middle English mysterie, from Latin mysterium, from Greek mystērion, from mystēs initiate

Synonym Discussion of mystery

mystery, problem, enigma, riddle, puzzle mean something which baffles or perplexes. mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation.
    • the mystery of the stone monoliths
problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern.
    • problems created by high technology
enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret.
    • his suicide remains an enigma
riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction.
    • the riddle of the reclusive pop star
puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution.
    • the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police




Definition of mystery

plural mysteries
1 archaic : trade, craft
2 archaic : a body of persons engaged in a particular trade, business, or profession : guild

Origin and Etymology of mystery

Middle English ministry, office, craft, from Anglo-French mesterie, from Late Latin misterium, mysterium, alteration of ministerium service, occupation, from minister servant — more at minister

MYSTERY Defined for Kids


noun mys·tery \ ˈmi-stə-rē \

Definition of mystery for Students

plural mysteries
1 : something that has not been or cannot be explained
  • Her disappearance remains a mystery.
  • Their success is a mystery to me.
2 : a piece of fiction about solving a crime

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nourishment or food and drink

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