enigma[i nig′mə, e-]
Which came first? It is an enigma.
An example of an enigma is the question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
- a perplexing, usually ambiguous, statement; riddle
- a perplexing, baffling, or seemingly inexplicable matter, person, etc.
Origin of enigmaClassical Latin aenigma ; from Classical Greek ainigma ; from ainissesthai, to speak in riddles ; from ainos, tale, story ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Indo-European base an unverified form ai-, oi-, meaningful speech from source uncertain or unknown; perhaps Middle Irish ōeth, oath
nounpl. e·nig·mas also e·nig·ma·ta
- One that is puzzling, ambiguous, or inexplicable.
- A perplexing speech or text; a riddle.
Origin of enigmaLatin aenigma, from Greek ainigma, from ainissesthai, ainig-, to speak in riddles, from ainos, fable.
(plural enigmas or enigmata)
From Latin aenigma (“riddle”), from Ancient Greek αἴνιγμα (ainigma, “dark saying, riddle”).