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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh-nuhn-druh m] /kəˈnʌn drəm/
a riddle, the answer to which involves a pun or play on words, as What is black and white and read all over? A newspaper.
anything that puzzles.
Origin of conundrum
First recorded in 1590-1600; pseudo-L word of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for conundrum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Anna asked them if they ever heard the conundrum “What was Eve made for?”

    Village Life in America 1852-1872 Caroline Cowles Richards
  • The amount of money on hand will answer the rest of the conundrum for them.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • It puzzled him; but then Handy himself was at all times more or less of a conundrum to him.

    A Pirate of Parts Richard Neville
  • "Very well; put the conundrum that way, if you like," said the squirrel.

    Policeman Bluejay L. Frank Baum
  • This editor copied the conundrum and could not resist the temptation to answer it, which he did thus: 'Because he is an ass!'

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
British Dictionary definitions for conundrum


a riddle, esp one whose answer makes a play on words
a puzzling question or problem
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conundrum

1590s, Oxford University slang for "pedant," also "whim," etc., later (1790) "riddle, puzzle." Also spelled quonundrum. The sort of ponderous pseudo-Latin word that was once the height of humor in learned circles.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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