mystery play


: a medieval drama based on scriptural incidents (such as the creation of the world, the Flood, or the life, death, and resurrection of Christ) compare miracle play

Examples of mystery play in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In season three of Only Murders in the Building, Broadway director Oliver Putnam, played by Martin Short, lands on the idea of turning his murder mystery play, Death Rattle, into a musical after the shocking death of his leading man. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Oct. 2023 It’s based on French writer, director and actor Robert Thomas’ 1960 murder mystery play Trap for a Lonely Man, which Albert Hitchcock once bought the rights to but never adapted. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 July 2023 At some point, the mystery play date arrives. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 David Ellenstein and Marc Silver’s 2005 one-man mystery play is about an actor who makes his living playing Albert Einstein and how the famed physicist’s theories figure into the very real drama in the actor’s personal life. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Apr. 2021 Likewise my fascination with medieval mystery plays, which dramatized the Old and New Testaments, the production of each biblical tale sponsored by a different guild: the guys who made nails, say, taking charge of staging Jesus’s crucifixion. New York Times, 2 July 2019 In Germany, mystery plays were performed on Christmas Eve, traditionally celebrated in the church calendar as the feast day of Adam and Eve. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mystery play.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


for earlier mystery entry 1 in sense "mystery play"

First Known Use

1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mystery play was in 1808

Dictionary Entries Near mystery play

Cite this Entry

“Mystery play.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

mystery play

: a play in the Middle Ages based on stories from the Bible (as the creation of the world or the life and death of Jesus Christ)

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