noun, plural e·nig·mas; Chiefly Archaic e·nig·ma·ta [uh-nig-muh-tuh]. /əˈnɪg mə tə/.
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Origin of enigma
synonym study for enigma
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BASIC DEFINITION OF ENIGMA
What does enigma mean?
An enigma is someone or something that’s puzzling, mysterious, or difficult to make sense of.
The word enigma can also mean a riddle, but it’s more often used to refer to something that’s so perplexing that it seems like a riddle (and perhaps was intended to seem like one), as in That book is an enigma—I have no idea what it’s really about.
If you call a person an enigma, you mean that they’re hard to figure out—the reasons behind what they say and do are not easily understood. Some people try to be enigmas to be mysterious.
The adjective enigmatic can be used to describe someone or something that’s puzzling or mysterious.
Example: I’ve known him for years, but he’s still a total enigma to me—I have no idea what his interests are or what he’s really like.
Where does enigma come from?
The first records of the word enigma come from the 1500s. It comes from the Greek ainíssesthai, meaning “to speak in riddles,” from ainos, meaning “fable” or “story.”
A much more specific use of the word is as the name of a ciphering machine used by the German military during World War II. A precursor to computer encryption, the Enigma machine was used to encode messages into a seemingly random string of letters to be decoded by another Enigma machine set up the same way. The deciphering of the Enigma code by Alan Turing and a team of codebreakers allowed the Allies to secretly read intercepted German messages and is thought to be a major factor in the Allied victory.
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What are some other forms related to enigma?
- enigmatic (adjective)
What are some synonyms for enigma?
What are some words that share a root or word element with enigma?
What are some words that often get used in discussing enigma?
How is enigma used in real life?
When a situation or problem is called an enigma, it’s one that’s confusing or difficult to understand, like a riddle. When a person is called an enigma, it usually means that they’re hard to know.
Human history is quite an enigma. We know so little, and much of what we think we know seems to be highly questionable.
— occultbot (@occultb0t) June 11, 2020
Diego Costa is an enigma. Looks 50, acts 15, is actually 26.
— Futhead (@Futhead) September 19, 2015
— James Caan CBE (@jamescaan) October 17, 2016
Try using enigma!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of enigma?
How to use enigma in a sentence
To Varki, glycans are still one of the greatest enigmas of the biological universe.Researchers Read the Sugary ‘Language’ on Cell Surfaces|Rachel Crowell|May 3, 2021|Quanta Magazine
As a man, Malcolm X was an enigma, transforming himself multiple times in his short life.How Laurence Fishburne Gave Voice To ‘The Autobiography Of Malcolm X’|Joi-Marie McKenzie|September 17, 2020|Essence.com
Even as he ascends to the top of China’s billionaire class, Zhong remains an enigma.A blockbuster IPO briefly made a bottled water entrepreneur China’s richest man|Grady McGregor|September 8, 2020|Fortune
Box has always been a bit of an enigma for Wall Street, and perhaps for enterprise software in general.Box benefits from digital transformation as it raises its growth forecast|Ron Miller|August 27, 2020|TechCrunch
Although the new research goes a long way to dispelling some of the mystery surrounding the tuatara, there is much to learn about these scaly enigmas.How tuatara live so long and can withstand cool weather|Jake Buehler|August 5, 2020|Science News
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|Clive Irving|November 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Madame Cézanne is ultimately about the figure in the portraits rather than the person, who remains a tantalizing enigma.
He was a paragon of masculinity—a tall, dark, and impossibly handsome enigma.What's Happened to Don Draper? Why Everyone’s Favorite ‘Mad Men’ Stud Needs His Mojo Back|Lizzie Crocker|April 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Howard Wolfson|March 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Filipa Ioannou|August 12, 2013|DAILY BEAST
To Lucy Warrender, who now heard of the matter for the first time, these initials were no enigma.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
He tells me that La Fayette has fled; but when, where, or for what purpose, is all equally an enigma.
Aristide looked mournfully over the rain-swept common through the leaded panes, and speculated on the enigma of woman.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
The Man in the Iron Mask is an enigma which each one attempts to solve.A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10)|Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
“You tempt one to enquire the length of the reign of a satisfactory enigma,” cried Lady Engleton.The Daughters of Danaus|Mona Caird