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enigma

[ uh-nig-muh ]
/ 蓹藞n瑟g m蓹 /
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noun, plural e路nig路mas; Chiefly Archaic e路nig路ma路ta [uh-nig-muh-tuh]. /蓹藞n瑟g m蓹 t蓹/.
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.
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Origin of enigma

First recorded in 1530鈥40; from Latin aenigma, from Greek a铆nigma, equivalent to ainik- (stem of ain铆ssesthai 鈥渢o speak in riddles,鈥 derivative of a卯nos fable) + -ma noun suffix of result

synonym study for enigma

1. See puzzle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2021

BASIC DEFINITION OF ENIGMA

What does聽enigma聽mean?

An enigma is someone or something that鈥檚 puzzling, mysterious, or difficult to make sense of.

The word enigma can also mean a riddle, but it鈥檚 more often used to refer to something that鈥檚 so perplexing that it seems like a riddle (and perhaps was intended to seem like one), as in That book is an enigma鈥擨 have no idea what it鈥檚 really about.聽

If you call a person an enigma, you mean that they鈥檙e hard to figure out鈥攖he 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鈥檚 puzzling or mysterious.

Example: I鈥檝e known him for years, but he鈥檚 still a total enigma to me鈥擨 have no idea what his interests are or what he鈥檚 really like.

Where does聽enigma come from?

The first records of the word enigma come from the 1500s. It comes from the Greek ain铆ssesthai, meaning 鈥渢o speak in riddles,鈥 from ainos, meaning 鈥渇able鈥 or 鈥渟tory.鈥

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.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to enigma?

What are some synonyms for enigma?

What are some words that share a root or word element with enigma?聽

What are some words that often get used in discussing enigma?

How is聽enigma used in real life?

When a situation or problem is called an enigma, it鈥檚 one that鈥檚 confusing or difficult to understand, like a riddle. When a person is called an enigma, it usually means that they鈥檙e hard to know.

 

Try using聽enigma!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of enigma?

A. cipher
B. answer
C. puzzle
D. riddle

How to use enigma in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for enigma

enigma
/ (瑟藞n瑟伞m蓹) /

noun
a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous

Derived forms of enigma

enigmatic (藢蓻n瑟伞藞m忙t瑟k) or enigmatical, adjectiveenigmatically, adverb

Word Origin for enigma

C16: from Latin aenigma, from Greek ainigma, from ainissesthai to speak in riddles, from ainos fable, story
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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