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[mi-steer-ee-uh s] /mɪˈstɪər i əs/
full of, characterized by, or involving mystery:
a mysterious occurrence.
implying or suggesting a mystery:
a mysterious smile.
of obscure nature, meaning, origin, etc.; puzzling; inexplicable:
a mysterious inscription on the ancient tomb.
Origin of mysterious
First recorded in 1610-20; mystery1 + -ous
Related forms
mysteriously, adverb
mysteriousness, noun
quasi-mysterious, adjective
quasi-mysteriously, adverb
unmysterious, adjective
unmysteriously, adverb
unmysteriousness, noun
1. secret, esoteric, occult, cryptic. 3. unfathomable, unintelligible, incomprehensible, enigmatic, impenetrable.
Synonym Study
1.Mysterious, inscrutable, mystical, obscure refer to that which is not easily comprehended or explained. That which is mysterious, by being unknown or puzzling, excites curiosity, amazement, or awe: a mysterious disease. Inscrutable applies to that which is impenetrable, so enigmatic that one cannot interpret its significance: an inscrutable smile. That which is mystical has a secret significance, such as that attaching to certain rites or signs: mystical symbols. That which is obscure is discovered or comprehended dimly or with difficulty: obscure motives. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mysteriousness
Historical Examples
  • She was mysterious, with the mysteriousness of living beings.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Janzen was at last emerging from his wonted frigidity and mysteriousness.

  • I may be able to very soon, and clear up all this mysteriousness, that is worrying me so.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • He was impressed and interested by the mysteriousness of the effect.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • The mysteriousness of his quickened heart-beats startled him.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
  • The mysteriousness of the change in Miss Nelly perturbed him the more.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • Except Hecate, they have no names; which heightens their mysteriousness.

  • There was another circumstance that enhanced the mysteriousness of this event.

    Wieland; or The Transformation Charles Brockden Brown
  • Yes, mysteriousness, for he had come in the night and had gone in the night.

    Ande Trembath

    Matthew Stanley Kemp
  • While he was thus plunged into this mysteriousness, a knock was heard at the door.

    Pierre; or The Ambiguities Herman Melville
British Dictionary definitions for mysteriousness


characterized by or indicative of mystery
puzzling, curious, or enigmatic
Derived Forms
mysteriously, adverb
mysteriousness, noun
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 mysteriousness



1610s, "full of mystery," from Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) + -ous. Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from Late Latin mysterialis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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