View synonyms for enigmatic


[ en-ig-mat-ik, ee-nig- ]


  1. resembling an enigma, or a puzzling occurrence, situation, statement, person, etc.; perplexing; mysterious:

    She has a perpetually enigmatic expression on her face.

    This is the most enigmatic book I have ever read!

    Synonyms: baffling, cryptic, puzzling

Discover More

Other Words From

  • enig·mati·cal·ly adverb
  • nonen·ig·matic adjective
  • nonen·ig·mati·cal adjective
  • nonen·ig·mati·cal·ly adverb
  • unen·ig·matic adjective
  • unen·ig·mati·cal adjective
  • unen·ig·mati·cal·ly adverb

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of enigmatic1

First recorded in 1620–30; from Late Latin aenigmaticus, from Greek ainigmatikós, equivalent to ainigmat- (stem of aínigma “riddle, taunt”) + -ikos adjective suffix; enigma, -ic

Discover More

Synonym Study

Discover More

Example Sentences

That endurance suggests that enigmatic structures found in the early rock record have a better chance of being pseudofossils, rather than actual fossils, the team says.

He also was an assistant to Bobby Fischer when the enigmatic American player claimed the world championship from Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky in the dramatic 1972 match where the Cold War played out atop a chess table.

In our paper about ORCs, which is forthcoming in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, we run through all the possibilities and conclude these enigmatic blobs don’t look like anything we already know about.

A genuine mysteryIn our paper about ORCs, which is forthcoming in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, we run through all the possibilities and conclude these enigmatic blobs don’t look like anything we already know about.

The skull fossil clears up a lot of confusion about this amphibian group’s lifestyle, Gardner says, but in other ways, albanerpetontids remain as enigmatic as ever.

And, as the enigmatic front man to an avant garde indie rock group, he is droll, perceptive, and splendidly weird.

Bolotov has been the most enigmatic of eastern Ukrainian leaders on this score.

Unlike her children and grandchildren, she has kept the brand intact: ever-present, ever-smiling, but ever-enigmatic.

Not since Gwyneth Paltrow's “conscious uncoupling” has one term been so intriguing, and so enigmatic.

Betty Draper burst onto the small screen with an undeniable presence befitting the wife of the enigmatic Don Draper.

Thurstane's blue-black eyes studied this enigmatic being steadily and almost angrily.

Shelburne, his former leader, he would not invite, for he could not endure his habitually enigmatic conduct.

At first they were covert and enigmatic, then merely ambiguous, and finally undisguised, and containing the bitterest reflections.

This young man was again the dark-faced, clear-eyed Roy, droll and dry, with the enigmatic smile on his lips.

The girl was an enigmatic creature, silent, self-absorbed, shrinking from the give-and-take of social life.


Related Words

Discover More

More About Enigmatic

What does enigmatic mean?

The adjective enigmatic can be used to describe someone or something that’s puzzling or mysterious.

Enigmatic means resembling an enigma—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 completely enigmatic—I have no idea what it’s really about. 

If you call a person enigmatic, 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 enigmatic to be mysterious.

Example: I’ve known him for years, but he’s completely enigmatic—I have no idea what his interests are or what he’s really like.

Where does enigmatic come from?

The first records of the word enigmatic come from the 1620s. It ultimately comes from the Greek ainíssesthai, meaning “to speak in riddles,” from ainos, meaning “fable” or “story.”

An enigmatic person’s personality is like a riddle. So is pretty much anything described as enigmatic—like an enigmatic film or an enigmatic statement. There may be a meaning or understandable pattern to it, but it’s not obvious. Sometimes, things described as enigmatic are that way on purpose, probably to add a sense of mystery or intrigue. Other times, things described as enigmatic are just naturally confusing.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to enigmatic?

  • enigmatically (adverb)
  • enigmatical (adjective)
  • enigma (noun)

What are some synonyms for enigmatic?

What are some words that share a root or word element with enigmatic

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

How is enigmatic used in real life?

When a situation or problem is described as enigmatic, it’s one that’s confusing or difficult to understand, like a riddle. When a person is described as enigmatic, it usually means that they’re hard to know.



Try using enigmatic!

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

A. mysterious
B. inscrutable
C. puzzling
D. clear