Definition of enigmatic in English:



  • Difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious:

    ‘he took the money with an enigmatic smile’
    • ‘This is the story of the enigmatic Catherine Weekes and the mysteries surrounding her.’
    • ‘These people pop up mysteriously and deliver enigmatic messages before vanishing again.’
    • ‘An enigmatic character in some respects, Costello played his politics close to his chest.’
    • ‘Mostly, though, this stuff is short, enigmatic, insubstantial and exciting.’
    • ‘Art lovers the world over have spent years musing over Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile.’
    • ‘Mom and dad are setting the table for supper, a weird enigmatic smile on their face.’
    • ‘Although the end is enigmatic like a short story, the film's strength is in its dialogues full of irony.’
    • ‘I'd only vaguely heard of the show, had never listened to it, but his enigmatic message drove me to find out more.’
    • ‘The play, after all, is the very antithesis of the romantic drama its enigmatic title might suggest.’
    • ‘He was the most enigmatic and the most provocative painter of the early Soviet period.’
    • ‘In keeping with its enigmatic image, the origins of the ritual use of the plant are also uncertain.’
    • ‘Researchers hope that its experimental data will solve some of the mysteries surrounding this enigmatic body.’
    • ‘Both boys possess violent streaks, but in the end it may be the enigmatic Stewart who is the scariest of them all.’
    • ‘This news came to us from a York source who must remain anonymous to make them sound more enigmatic and exciting.’
    • ‘Tall and handsome, with heavy-lidded, soulful eyes, he was volatile and enigmatic.’
    • ‘The enigmatic Duke then disguises himself as a priest in order to observe the events.’
    • ‘No. Will the enigmatic young female violinist turn out to be significant?’
    • ‘As their names suggest, they make murky music, so quiet and enigmatic they risk going unnoticed in the corner.’
    • ‘Other translators of his work have phoned me, thanking me for unpacking some of his more enigmatic sentences.’
    • ‘From the enigmatic Chancellor it was interpreted as the closest thing to a job application.’
    mysterious, puzzling, hard to understand, mystifying, inexplicable, baffling, perplexing, bewildering, confusing, impenetrable, inscrutable, incomprehensible, unexplainable, unfathomable, indecipherable, delphic, oracular
    ambiguous, equivocal, paradoxical, sibylline, unaccountable, insoluble, obscure, elliptical, oblique
    arcane, abstruse, recondite, secret, esoteric, occult, cryptic
    as clear as mud
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Early 17th century: from French énigmatique or late Latin aenigmaticus, based on Greek ainigma riddle (see enigma).