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[mi-steer-ee-uh s] /mɪˈstɪər i əs/
full of, characterized by, or involving mystery:
a mysterious occurrence.
implying or suggesting a mystery:
a mysterious smile.
of obscure nature, meaning, origin, etc.; puzzling; inexplicable:
a mysterious inscription on the ancient tomb.
Origin of mysterious
1610-20; mystery1 + -ous
Related forms
mysteriously, adverb
mysteriousness, noun
quasi-mysterious, adjective
quasi-mysteriously, adverb
unmysterious, adjective
unmysteriously, adverb
unmysteriousness, noun
1. secret, esoteric, occult, cryptic. Mysterious, inscrutable, mystical, obscure refer to that which is not easily comprehended or explained. That which is mysterious, by being unknown or puzzling, excites curiosity, amazement, or awe: a mysterious disease. Inscrutable applies to that which is impenetrable, so enigmatic that one cannot interpret its significance: an inscrutable smile. That which is mystical has a secret significance, such as that attaching to certain rites or signs: mystical symbols. That which is obscure is discovered or comprehended dimly or with difficulty: obscure motives. 3. unfathomable, unintelligible, incomprehensible, enigmatic, impenetrable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mysteriously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How white the moon was in the sky, how mysteriously gray the whole sweep of shore and sea!

    Kastle Krags Absalom Martin
  • His eyes sought for sign of his goddess, who had disappeared most mysteriously.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • It did not seem real, so strangely acquired, so mysteriously concealed.

    Helen and Arthur Caroline Lee Hentz
  • One day what was known as the "sailor's dog" mysteriously disappeared.

  • Their appearance in public was sudden and unheralded; and they disappeared as silently and mysteriously.

British Dictionary definitions for mysteriously


characterized by or indicative of mystery
puzzling, curious, or enigmatic
Derived Forms
mysteriously, adverb
mysteriousness, noun
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 mysteriously



1610s, "full of mystery," from Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) + -ous. Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from Late Latin mysterialis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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