[ mi-steer-ee-uhs ]
See synonyms for mysterious on
  1. full of, characterized by, or involving mystery: a mysterious occurrence.

  2. implying or suggesting a mystery: a mysterious smile.

  1. of obscure nature, meaning, origin, etc.; puzzling; inexplicable: a mysterious inscription on the ancient tomb.

Origin of mysterious

First recorded in 1610–20; mystery1 + -ous

synonym study For mysterious

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.

Other words for mysterious

Other words from mysterious

  • mys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverb
  • mys·te·ri·ous·ness, noun
  • qua·si-mys·te·ri·ous, adjective
  • qua·si-mys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverb
  • un·mys·te·ri·ous, adjective
  • un·mys·te·ri·ous·ly, adverb
  • un·mys·te·ri·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mysterious in a sentence

  • He gave up the solution by seeking refuge in the mysteriousness of God's knowledge.

  • The mere mysteriousness of the matter ought to have fired curiosity and compelled exploration; but this did not occur.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete | Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • For since that girl who had come to his home had suddenly gone away with equal mysteriousness his master was once more his slave.

    The Loves of Ambrose | Margaret Vandercook
  • Now up to this time Frau Knapf had maintained a Mrs. Harris-like mysteriousness.

  • After that appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary.

    The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett

British Dictionary definitions for mysterious


/ (mɪˈstɪərɪəs) /

  1. characterized by or indicative of mystery

  2. puzzling, curious, or enigmatic

Derived forms of mysterious

  • mysteriously, adverb
  • mysteriousness, 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