Enigma definition

ĭ-nĭgmə
A perplexing, baffling, or seemingly inexplicable matter, person, etc.
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A perplexing, usually ambiguous, statement; riddle.
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One that is puzzling, ambiguous, or inexplicable.
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The definition of enigma is something or someone that is puzzling or a riddle. The word "enigma" first appeared in print in 1449. Its origins remain as mysterious as the word itself. It is likely to derive from the Latin ænigma, meaning a riddle, or the Greek, ainigma, which derives from the word ainissesthai, "to speak obscurely, speak in riddles."

An example of an enigma is the question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

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A riddle, or a difficult problem.
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A perplexing speech or text; a riddle.
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A German device used during World War II to encode strategic messages.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
enigma
Plural:
enigmas, enigmata

Origin of enigma

  • Latin aenigma from Greek ainigma from ainissesthai ainig- to speak in riddles from ainos fable

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin aenigma (“riddle”), from Ancient Greek αἴνιγμα (ainigma, “dark saying, riddle”).

    From Wiktionary