• synonyms


adjective Also cryp·ti·cal.
  1. mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous: a cryptic message.
  2. abrupt; terse; short: a cryptic note.
  3. secret; occult: a cryptic writing.
  4. involving or using cipher, code, etc.
  5. Zoology. fitted for concealing; serving to camouflage.
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  1. a cryptogram, especially one designed as a puzzle.
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Origin of cryptic

1595–1605; < Late Latin crypticus < Greek kryptikós hidden. See crypt, -ic
Related formscryp·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·cryp·tic, adjectivenon·cryp·ti·cal, adjectivenon·cryp·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for cryptic

1. enigmatic, perplexing.

Synonym study

1. See ambiguous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cryptically

Contemporary Examples of cryptically

Historical Examples of cryptically

  • "Monsieur is too strong for me," replied Gaston, cryptically.

  • The closed makimono,” he cryptically retorted, “is the symbol of wisdom.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • “I am not anxious to see Miss McLeod,” he answered, cryptically.

  • "They know," said Russ cryptically from his position in front of the vision plate.


    Clifford Donald Simak

  • "He certainly seems to be amused by you," she said cryptically.

    Too Old for Dolls

    Anthony Mario Ludovici

British Dictionary definitions for cryptically



  1. hidden; secret; occult
  2. (esp of comments, sayings, etc) obscure in meaning
  3. (of the coloration of animals) tending to conceal by disguising or camouflaging the shape
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Derived Formscryptically, adverb

Word Origin for cryptic

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

Word Origin and History for cryptically



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cryptically in Medicine


  1. Hidden or concealed.
  2. Tending to conceal or camouflage, as the coloring of an animal.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.