Definition of enigmatic in English:



  • Difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious.

    ‘he took the money with an enigmatic smile’
    • ‘I'd only vaguely heard of the show, had never listened to it, but his enigmatic message drove me to find out more.’
    • ‘The enigmatic Duke then disguises himself as a priest in order to observe the events.’
    • ‘As their names suggest, they make murky music, so quiet and enigmatic they risk going unnoticed in the corner.’
    • ‘Researchers hope that its experimental data will solve some of the mysteries surrounding this enigmatic body.’
    • ‘Other translators of his work have phoned me, thanking me for unpacking some of his more enigmatic sentences.’
    • ‘This news came to us from a York source who must remain anonymous to make them sound more enigmatic and exciting.’
    • ‘An enigmatic character in some respects, Costello played his politics close to his chest.’
    • ‘From the enigmatic Chancellor it was interpreted as the closest thing to a job application.’
    • ‘Mom and dad are setting the table for supper, a weird enigmatic smile on their face.’
    • ‘The play, after all, is the very antithesis of the romantic drama its enigmatic title might suggest.’
    • ‘In keeping with its enigmatic image, the origins of the ritual use of the plant are also uncertain.’
    • ‘Both boys possess violent streaks, but in the end it may be the enigmatic Stewart who is the scariest of them all.’
    • ‘Although the end is enigmatic like a short story, the film's strength is in its dialogues full of irony.’
    • ‘Art lovers the world over have spent years musing over Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile.’
    • ‘No. Will the enigmatic young female violinist turn out to be significant?’
    • ‘These people pop up mysteriously and deliver enigmatic messages before vanishing again.’
    • ‘This is the story of the enigmatic Catherine Weekes and the mysteries surrounding her.’
    • ‘Tall and handsome, with heavy-lidded, soulful eyes, he was volatile and enigmatic.’
    • ‘He was the most enigmatic and the most provocative painter of the early Soviet period.’
    • ‘Mostly, though, this stuff is short, enigmatic, insubstantial and exciting.’
    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).