Why was clemency trending last week?


[krip-tik] /ˈkrɪp tɪk/
adjective, Also, cryptical
mysterious in meaning; puzzling; ambiguous:
a cryptic message.
abrupt; terse; short:
a cryptic note.
secret; occult:
a cryptic writing.
involving or using cipher, code, etc.
Zoology. fitted for concealing; serving to camouflage.
a cryptogram, especially one designed as a puzzle.
Origin of cryptic
1595-1605; < Late Latin crypticus < Greek kryptikós hidden. See crypt, -ic
Related forms
cryptically, adverb
noncryptic, adjective
noncryptical, adjective
noncryptically, adverb
1. enigmatic, perplexing. See ambiguous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cryptic
  • Mathematical signs and symbols are often cryptic, but the best of them offer visual clues to their own meaning.
  • There are a few cryptic inscriptions on the wax discs and cylinders and some notes from past curators.
  • Sometimes, unfortunately, departmental reviews and faculty mentoring are cryptic or unhelpfully positive.
  • They carry clipboards, rosters on the clipboards, and typically they are writing cryptic notes on the player's performance.
  • The songs are overstuffed with cryptic slang and complex stories.
  • Most of them have cryptic coloring, are nocturnal, or are hidden in the high canopy.
  • Seahorses are master mimics that use their cryptic colors and upright posture to blend in with plants.
  • The interactive game will have you wandering through the streets on a quest for answers to cryptic clues.
  • The above cryptic allusion describes the foreign exchange rate for two currencies.
  • My cryptic comment above, of course, needs a little elaboration.
British Dictionary definitions for cryptic


hidden; secret; occult
(esp of comments, sayings, etc) obscure in meaning
(of the coloration of animals) tending to conceal by disguising or camouflaging the shape
Derived Forms
cryptically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kruptikos, from kruptos concealed; see crypt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cryptic

1630s, "hidden, occult, mystical," from Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kryptikos "fit for concealing," from kryptos "hidden" (see crypt). Meaning "mysterious, enigmatic" is recorded from 1920. Related: Cryptically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cryptic in Medicine

cryptic cryp·tic (krĭp'tĭk)

  1. Hidden or concealed.

  2. Tending to conceal or camouflage, as the coloring of an animal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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