/ (ɪˈnɪɡməˌtaɪz) /
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(tr) to make enigmatic
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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


What does enigmatize mean?

To enigmatize something is to make it enigmatic—puzzling or mysterious.

In other words, to enigmatize something is to make it into 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 an enigma—I have no idea what it’s really about. 

If you call a person an enigma, you mean that they’re hard to figure out—the reasons behind what they say and do are not easily understood. Some people enigmatize themselves to be mysterious.

The word enigmatize is rarely used. Enigma and enigmatic are much more common.

Example: I think we should enigmatize the ad to make it more mysterious and interesting—to make people ask questions about it. 

Where does enigmatize come from?

The first records of the word enigmatize in reference to making something more mysterious come from the 1800s. It ultimately comes from the Greek ainíssesthai, meaning “to speak in riddles,” from ainos, meaning “fable” or “story.” The suffix -ize is used to form verbs.

Enigmatizing something is often done to add a sense of mystery or intrigue. An author might choose to enigmatize a character to make them more mysterious. A riddle might be further enigmatized by making it even more difficult to figure out.

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What are some other forms related to enigmatize?

  • enigmatise (alternate spelling)

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

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

How is enigmatize used in real life?

Enigmatize is rarely used. It would be much more common to say make enigmatic.


Try using enigmatize!

Is enigmatize used correctly in the following sentence? 

You enigmatized the text to the point that it’s completely inscrutable.