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See more synonyms for mysterious on Thesaurus.com
  1. full of, characterized by, or involving mystery: a mysterious occurrence.
  2. implying or suggesting a mystery: a mysterious smile.
  3. of obscure nature, meaning, origin, etc.; puzzling; inexplicable: a mysterious inscription on the ancient tomb.
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Origin of mysterious

First recorded in 1610–20; mystery1 + -ous
Related formsmys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverbmys·te·ri·ous·ness, nounqua·si-mys·te·ri·ous, adjectivequa·si-mys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverbun·mys·te·ri·ous, adjectiveun·mys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverbun·mys·te·ri·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for mysterious

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Synonym study

1. Mysterious, inscrutable, mystical, obscure refer to that which is not easily comprehended or explained. That which is mysterious, by being unknown or puzzling, excites curiosity, amazement, or awe: a mysterious disease. Inscrutable applies to that which is impenetrable, so enigmatic that one cannot interpret its significance: an inscrutable smile. That which is mystical has a secret significance, such as that attaching to certain rites or signs: mystical symbols. That which is obscure is discovered or comprehended dimly or with difficulty: obscure motives.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mysterious

enigmatic, mystical, mystifying, perplexing, puzzling, cryptic, unknown, inscrutable, magical, inexplicable, baffling, dark, strange, secretive, curious, obscure, weird, abstruse, arcane, cabalistic

Examples from the Web for mysterious

Contemporary Examples of mysterious

Historical Examples of mysterious

  • By some mysterious power you have ever known my heart better than I myself have known it.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • All who listened were deeply impressed by language so mysterious.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • From the first moment you spoke, I have felt this mysterious power.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • "The beauty that lies within has ever a mysterious power," answered Plato.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • She prevails, and rescues him from the mysterious perils of the library.

British Dictionary definitions for mysterious


  1. characterized by or indicative of mystery
  2. puzzling, curious, or enigmatic
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Derived Formsmysteriously, adverbmysteriousness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for mysterious


1610s, "full of mystery," from Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) + -ous. Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from Late Latin mysterialis.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper