riddle 1 of 2

as in mystery
something hard to understand or explain his motives for starting an argument with the coach were a complete riddle

Synonyms & Similar Words

Relevance

riddle

2 of 2

verb

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun riddle differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of riddle are enigma, mystery, problem, and puzzle. While all these words mean "something which baffles or perplexes," riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction.

the riddle of the reclusive pop star

When might enigma be a better fit than riddle?

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

his suicide remains an enigma

When is mystery a more appropriate choice than riddle?

The words mystery and riddle are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When could problem be used to replace riddle?

The synonyms problem and riddle are sometimes interchangeable, but problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern.

problems created by high technology

Where would puzzle be a reasonable alternative to riddle?

In some situations, the words puzzle and riddle are roughly equivalent. However, puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution.

the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police

Podcast

Thesaurus Entries Near riddle

Cite this Entry

“Riddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/riddle. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on riddle

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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