as in enigma
something hard to understand or explain why my sister married that guy is still a mystery to my parents

Synonyms & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How does the noun mystery differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of mystery are enigma, problem, puzzle, and riddle. While all these words 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

Where would enigma be a reasonable alternative to mystery?

While the synonyms enigma and mystery are close in meaning, enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret.

his suicide remains an enigma

When might problem be a better fit than mystery?

The words problem and mystery can be used in similar contexts, but problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern.

problems created by high technology

When is puzzle a more appropriate choice than mystery?

The synonyms puzzle and mystery are sometimes interchangeable, but puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution.

the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police

When is it sensible to use riddle instead of mystery?

Although the words riddle and mystery have much in common, riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction.

the riddle of the reclusive pop star

Thesaurus Entries Near mystery

Cite this Entry

“Mystery.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on mystery

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