Synonyms of mystery

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

Synonyms for mystery

Words Related to mystery

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About mystery

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mystery

Time Traveler for mystery

Time Traveler

The first known use of mystery was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Mystery.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mystery

Dictionary: Definition of mystery

Nglish: Translation of mystery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mystery for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mystery

Comments on mystery

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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