Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Occupation; trade; office; profession; calling; art; craft.
  • noun plural In ancient religions, rites known to and practised by certain initiated persons only, consisting of purifications, sacrificial offerings, processions, songs, dances, dramatic performances, and the like: as, the Eleusinian mysteries.
  • noun In the Christian Church, especially in the early church and in the Greek Church, a sacrament.
  • noun plural The consecrated elements in the eucharist; in the singular, the eucharist.
  • noun Any religious doctrine or body of doctrines that seems above human comprehension.
  • noun They counte as Fables the holie misteries of Christian Religion.
  • noun In general, a fact, matter, or phenomenon of which the meaning, explanation, or cause is not known, and which awakens curiosity or inspires awe; something that is inexplicable; an enigmatic secret.
  • noun A form of dramatic composition much in vogue in the middle ages, and still played in some parts of Europe in a modified form, the characters and events of which were drawn from sacred history.

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

  • noun A trade; a handicraft; hence, any business with which one is usually occupied.
  • noun A dramatic representation of a Scriptural subject, often some event in the life of Christ; a dramatic composition of this character.
  • noun A profound secret; something wholly unknown, or something kept cautiously concealed, and therefore exciting curiosity or wonder; something which has not been or can not be explained; hence, specifically, that which is beyond human comprehension.
  • noun A kind of secret religious celebration, to which none were admitted except those who had been initiated by certain preparatory ceremonies; -- usually plural.
  • noun The consecrated elements in the eucharist.
  • noun Anything artfully made difficult; an enigma.

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

  • noun Something secret or unexplainable; unknown.
  • noun Someone or thing with an obscure or puzzling nature.
  • noun Catholicism A particular event or series of events in the life of Christ.

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

  • noun something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
  • noun a story about a crime (usually murder) presented as a novel or play or movie

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English mysterie, from Latin mysterium, from Ancient Greek μυστήριον (musterion, "a mystery, a secret, a secret rite"), from μύστης (mustēs, "initiated one"), from μυέω (mueō, "I initiate"), from μύω (muō, "I shut").

Examples

  • "Great is the mystery of godliness," says Paul; and _mystery_ involves the unknown.

    Unity of Good

  • It is the function of the poet to realize and revere the mystery, but it is the duty of philosophy to explore and dissipate it, as far as possible, for _mystery is the foe of human progress_.

    Buchanan's Journal of Man, August 1887 Volume 1, Number 7

  • Still, a pricing system shrouded in mystery is also ripe for abuse.

    Medical pricing a mystery even to the experts

  • Especially since, after the main mystery is resolved, there is all those post-climactic follow-up, which in the end doesnt 'really go anywhere, and all these plot bits are left mysterious and unresolved at the end.

    Breakfast in Bed

  • The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • When we opened the book to the contents page, the title mystery was solved.

    In The Queens' Parlour

  • The White House is about to learn that we're much more inclined to support the candidate who has always been on our side over the candidate who brings new meaning to the term mystery meat.

    post-gazette.com - News

  • Mr. Lazaridis doesn't use the term mystery, but he focuses in the same fashion on solving paradoxes, most particularly for the original breakthrough on how to reduce size for laptops yet create a better and more usable product.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church ...

    Holy Communion and Non-Catholics

  • And one of the few cards that they can play to some effect is what I call the mystery card: Keeping us and others in the dark about their intentions, their system.

    North Korea's Next Leader A Surprising Secret

Comments

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  • "infinitely knowable"

    February 18, 2007

  • "Often used in the plural: the mysteries of Freemasonry; the mysteries of cooking game." - From def. 5 in the American Heritage Dictionary.

    April 10, 2011

  • See hard-shoulder comments

    March 27, 2012