enigma

[uh-nig-muh]
noun, plural enigmas; Chiefly Archaic, enigmata [uh-nig-muh-tuh] .
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.
(initial capital letter) 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.

Origin:
1530–40; < Latin aenigma < Greek aínigma, equivalent to ainik- (stem of ainíssesthai to speak in riddles, derivative of aînos fable) + -ma noun suffix of result


1. problem. See puzzle.
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World English Dictionary
enigma (ɪˈnɪɡmə)
 
n
a person, thing, or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous
 
[C16: from Latin aenigma, from Greek ainigma, from ainissesthai to speak in riddles, from ainos fable, story]
 
enigmatic
 
adj
 
enig'matical
 
adj
 
enig'matically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

enigma
mid-15c., from L. aenigma "riddle," from Gk. ainigma, from ainissesthai "speak obscurely, speak in riddles," from ainos "fable, riddle," of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

Enigma definition

hardware, cryptography
The electro-mechanical cipher engine used by the Germans in World War II. Many of their messages were deciphered at Bletchley Park, by Alan Turing and others.
(2000-09-30)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
But what, exactly, is unclear-a mystery batter-dipped in an enigma.
This game is indeed an enigma at times.
The world is an enormous enigma that science is solving gradually.
The brain is still an enigma.
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