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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use enigma in a sentence
Despite being a significant portion and growing force on the internet for over a decade now Gen Z remains an enigma for many media companies and brands.Digiday Guide: Everything you need to know about Gen Z’s media consumption habits | Kayleigh Barber | June 23, 2021 | Digiday
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
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 | THE 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 | THE 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 | THE 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 | THE 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
British Dictionary definitions for enigma
a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
- enigmatic (ˌɛnɪɡˈmætɪk) or enigmatical, adjective
- enigmatically, adverb
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