[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conundrum

British Dictionary definitions for conundrum


/ (kəˈnʌndrəm) /


a riddle, esp one whose answer makes a play on words
a puzzling question or problem

Word Origin for conundrum

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

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