enigma

[ uh-nig-muh ]
/ əˈnɪg mə /

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.

QUIZZES

QUIZ TIME: TEST YOUR MEMORY OF THE MAY 2020 WORDS OF THE DAY

Let the aeolian gusts transport you back to these popular Words of the Day from the month of May. How many do you remember?
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to travel or journey, especially to walk on foot”?

Origin of enigma

1530–40; < Latin aenigma < Greek aínigma, equivalent to ainik- (stem of ainíssesthai to speak in riddles, derivative of aînos fable) + -ma noun suffix of result

SYNONYMS FOR enigma

1 problem. See puzzle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for enigmas

British Dictionary definitions for enigmas

enigma
/ (ɪˈnɪɡmə) /

noun

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

Derived forms of enigma

enigmatic (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