from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or resembling an enigma; puzzling: synonym: mysterious.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Relating to or containing an enigma; obscure; darkly expressed or indicated; ambiguous.
  • Synonyms Mysterious, puzzling, dark, recondite.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Relating to or resembling an enigma; not easily explained or accounted for; darkly expressed; not clear to the understanding; obscure; puzzling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Pertaining to an enigma.
  • adjective Mysterious.
  • adjective Defying description.
  • adjective Enigmatical.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective not clear to the understanding
  • adjective resembling an oracle in obscurity of thought


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek ainigmatikos, from ainigma, ainigmat-, riddle; see enigma.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word enigmatic.


  • He thought her prominent nose and firm chin formed an exquisite profile, and he was fascinated by what he called her enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.

    Portrait of An Artist Laurie Lisle 1986

  • Rather than offering didactic explanations for each aesthetic decision, artists may rediscover the value in enigmatic, emotionally-rooted work whose meaning is intuitively derived and not so easily explained.

    Sharon L. Butler: Abstract Expressionist New York: Line and Legacy Sharon L. Butler 2010

  • By the way, I called her enigmatic because, while unlike the Pundit, she does have a picture posted on her blog, it's not particularly helpful in figuring out what she really looks like:

    Three Blogs For May Don Lewis 2008

  • They turn up and disappear, leaving traces and clues, but remain enigmatic, ambiguous.

    Naguib Mahfouz – The Son of Two Civilizations 2003

  • Arbuthnot on his arrival will find his wife in enigmatic tears.

    The Enchanted April 1922

  • Gianbattista and Lucia conversed in a low tone, in short, enigmatic phrases.

    Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster 1881

  • Noting some short term enigmatic inflation and deflationary cycles we will be experiencing for some time. Home Page 2010

  • Ooh, and they were "enigmatic" -- a pasty, poker-faced duo who dressed only in red, white and black, did not appear in their debut video (they used LEGOs and animation instead) and left people guessing about whether they were husband and wife or brother and sister.

    The Second Coming 2007

  • * Amy Pond is described as "enigmatic" - so does she arrive with a built-in mystery?

    SFX Dave Golder 2010

  • A certain enigmatic quality, even the occasional feeling of being out of one’s depth, is necessary if a spy novel is not to feel like a boys’ adventure.

    A Man of Action 2006


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.