enigma

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 [ɪˈnɪgmə]



WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
e•nig•ma /əˈnɪgmə/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  -mas. 
  1. a puzzling event, situation, or person.
  2. a riddle.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
e•nig•ma  (ə nigmə),USA pronunciation n., pl.  -mas, -ma•ta 
    (-mə tə).USA pronunciation 
  1. a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation:His disappearance is an enigma that has given rise to much speculation.
  2. a person of puzzling or contradictory character:To me he has always been an enigma, one minute completely insensitive, the next moved to tears.
  3. a saying, question, picture, etc., containing a hidden meaning;
    riddle.
  4. Military, Cryptography(cap.) a German-built enciphering machine developed for commercial use in the early 1920s and later adapted and appropriated by German and other Axis powers for military use through World War II.
  • Greek aínigma, equivalent. to ainik- (stem of ainíssesthai to speak in riddles, derivative of aînos fable) + -ma noun, nominal suffix of result
  • Latin aenigma
  • 1530–40
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged problem. See  puzzle. 


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

enigma /ɪˈnɪɡmə/ n
  1. a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
Etymology: 16th Century: from Latin aenigma, from Greek ainigma, from ainissesthai to speak in riddles, from ainos fable, story

enigmatic /ˌɛnɪɡˈmætɪk/, ˌenigˈmatical adj ˌenigˈmatically adv



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