- a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation: His disappearance is an enigma that has given rise to much speculation.
- a person of puzzling or contradictory character: To me he has always been an enigma, one minute completely insensitive, the next moved to tears.
- a saying, question, picture, etc., containing a hidden meaning; riddle.
- (initial capital letter) a German-built enciphering machine developed for commercial use in the early 1920s and later adapted and appropriated by German and other Axis powers for military use through World War II.
Origin of enigma
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for enigma
As great as this feat was, an equally demanding test followed: to conceal from the Nazis that Enigma had been beaten.The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero
November 29, 2014
The name is "an enigma even to me," Taylor says -- an appropriately mysterious moniker to make spiritual music under.Leaps of Faith: Wrestling With Uncertainty and Finding Grace Through the Music of Hiss Golden Messenger
March 2, 2014
Lil B is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a song about Ellen Degeneres.2 Chainz, Snoop Lion, and More Rappers in the Kitchen
August 12, 2013
The prodigious computer genius, who took his own life Friday at age 26, remains an enigma to those unaware of his many projects.Aaron Swartz, 26, Programmer, Outspoken Advocate of Free Information
January 14, 2013
Despite her many high-profile projects, Carine Roitfeld still manages to maintain a sense of enigma in the public mind.Carine Roitfeld Talks About New Harper’s Bazaar Job at French Institute in New York
Misty White Sidell
November 6, 2012
"Troilus and Cressida" has always been regarded as a sort of enigma.The Man Shakespeare
As for Jane Temple's view of this business, that remained an enigma.Quaint Courtships
Whether he will buy his fleet abroad or build it himself is at present an enigma.Freeland
By the dignity of my profession, it must be so:—Now there's a solution to the enigma.The Politician Out-Witted
The Queen then condescended to explain the whole of the enigma to me.
- a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
Word Origin and History for enigma
1580s, earlier enigmate (mid-15c.), from Latin aenigma "riddle," from Greek ainigma (plural ainigmata), from ainissesthai "speak obscurely, speak in riddles," from ainos "fable, riddle," of unknown origin.