Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[krip-tik] /ˈkrɪp tɪk/
adjective, Also, cryptical
mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous:
a cryptic message.
abrupt; terse; short:
a cryptic note.
secret; occult:
a cryptic writing.
involving or using cipher, code, etc.
Zoology. fitted for concealing; serving to camouflage.
a cryptogram, especially one designed as a puzzle.
Origin of cryptic
1595-1605; < Late Latin crypticus < Greek kryptikós hidden. See crypt, -ic
Related forms
cryptically, adverb
noncryptic, adjective
noncryptical, adjective
noncryptically, adverb
1. enigmatic, perplexing.
Synonym Study
1. See ambiguous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cryptic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Stand for what, my esteemed but cryptic fellow-practitioner?

    The Crux Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • "It is full early in the morning for the cryptic and abstruse," I said.

  • With these cryptic words he slid off the bed, taking with him the large old-fashioned Bible which always lay by Nanna's bedside.

    What Timmy Did Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes
  • The president cast a cryptic look at the lad and did not reply directly to him.

    Fantmas Pierre Souvestre
  • It is no longer a detail of the Strand, but a cryptic symbol of human life.

    Prose Fancies (Second Series) Richard Le Gallienne
British Dictionary definitions for cryptic


hidden; secret; occult
(esp of comments, sayings, etc) obscure in meaning
(of the coloration of animals) tending to conceal by disguising or camouflaging the shape
Derived Forms
cryptically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kruptikos, from kruptos concealed; see crypt
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cryptic

1630s, "hidden, occult, mystical," from Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kryptikos "fit for concealing," from kryptos "hidden" (see crypt). Meaning "mysterious, enigmatic" is recorded from 1920. Related: Cryptically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
cryptic in Medicine

cryptic cryp·tic (krĭp'tĭk)

  1. Hidden or concealed.

  2. Tending to conceal or camouflage, as the coloring of an animal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cryptic

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cryptic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for cryptic