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
Examples of puzzle in a Sentence
The cause of the accident has puzzled investigators.
it is the cause of the disease that puzzles doctors Noun
a book of puns, riddles, and puzzles
the final fate of the colonists at Roanoke remains a puzzle to this very day
Recent Examples on the Web
For decades, scientists have been trying to untangle puzzling questions over male fertility.—Evan Bush, NBC News, 15 Nov. 2023 The anatomy of these enigmatic animals has puzzled researchers for years.—Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 This question has puzzled biologists for decades, but some new research says that a starfish’s whole body could function like a head.—Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 1 Nov. 2023 As the crime and mystery columnist for the Book Review, Ms. Weinman investigates not mysteries themselves but the merit of mystery novels, offering readers four book suggestions — puzzling whodunits; twisty thrillers — every month.—Katherine J. Igoe, New York Times, 31 Oct. 2023 Ripken became a first-ballot Hall of Famer with 98.5% of the vote, so maybe there’s something to a proverb with a murky origin and puzzling imagery.—Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2023 Some voters seemed puzzled, even frustrated, about the road ahead.—Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2023 There were puzzling quirks that could either charm or challenge, depending on the guest: green plastic dining chairs that looked like they could’ve been bought at a hardware store.—Hugh Garvey, Sunset Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 Scientists are still puzzled by the factors that lead to rapid intensification.—Evan Bush, NBC News, 25 Oct. 2023
That’s one of the most enigmatic parts of the whole puzzle.—Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 The announcement in early December that a car, a white Hyundai Elantra with unknown license plates, may be linked to the scene only ramped up the online conversations among amateur detectives determined to piece together the puzzle.—Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 13 Nov. 2023 Try them to tackle even the most challenging puzzles.—Sam Corbin, New York Times, 12 Nov. 2023 One experiment, for example, focused on participants' completion of word puzzles after being shown images designed to elicit specific emotional responses.—Sara Moniuszko, CBS News, 6 Nov. 2023 Efforts to conserve and replant forests remain a critical piece of the global climate-change puzzle.—Condé Nast, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 The K-pop stars added one more piece to the puzzle of its release on Sunday (Nov. 5), sharing the album’s tracklist on X (formerly known as Twitter).—Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 6 Nov. 2023 An infectious disease specialist, House thrives on the challenge of solving medical puzzles in order to save lives.—Todd Spangler, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 Curbing climate change — and extreme weather for future generations — depends squarely on society’s ability to rapidly build new clean energy infrastructure despite the messy puzzle of local, state and federal reviews projects must overcome.—Amy Harder, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'puzzle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.