[ uh-nig-muh ]
/ əˈnɪg mə /
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noun, plural e·nig·mas; Chiefly Archaic e·nig·ma·ta [uh-nig-muh-tuh]. /əˈnɪg mə tə/.
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.
OTHER WORDS FOR enigma
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Origin of enigma
First recorded in 1530–40; from Latin aenigma, from Greek aínigma, equivalent to ainik- (stem of ainíssesthai “to speak in riddles,” derivative of aînos fable) + -ma noun suffix of result
synonym study for enigma
1. See puzzle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use enigma in a sentence
Berlin Stories is a treat that showcases two captivating enigmas, Berlin the city and Walser the writer.Must Reads: Margot Livesey, Robert Walser and More|Wendy Smith, Malcolm Forbes, Jane Ciabattari|February 16, 2012|DAILY BEAST
It seems the readiest solution of certain psychological enigmas, and may, for aught we know, be an instinct of fact.The Myths of the New World|Daniel G. Brinton
He spoke continually of himself, indeed, but still in enigmas; a veiled prophet of egoism.The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume XXI|Robert Louis Stevenson
It appears from the writings of the ancients, that the Greeks and all the Eastern nations, were singularly attached to enigmas.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I|Francis Augustus Cox
"You are speaking in enigmas; do explain yourself, Herbert," impatiently urged his wife.For John's Sake|Annie Frances Perram
“Oh, if you begin to talk in enigmas I for one shall cease to be your friend,” answered Sibyl.Betty Vivian|L. T. Meade
British Dictionary definitions for enigma
/ (ɪˈnɪɡmə) /
a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
Derived forms of enigmaenigmatic (ˌɛnɪɡˈmætɪk) 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 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012