mystery

1 [mis-tuh-ree, -tree]
noun, plural mysteries.
1.
anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature.
2.
any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation: The masked guest is an absolute mystery to everyone.
3.
a novel, short story, play, or film whose plot involves a crime or other event that remains puzzlingly unsettled until the very end: a mystery by Agatha Christie.
4.
obscure, puzzling, or mysterious quality or character: the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile.
5.
any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.
6.
a.
a sacramental rite.
b.
the Eucharist.
7.
an incident or scene in connection with the life of Christ, regarded as of special significance: the mysteries of the Passion.
8.
any of the 15 events in the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary meditated upon during the recitation of the rosary.
9.
mysteries.
a.
ancient religions that admitted candidates by secret rites and rituals the meaning of which was known only to initiated worshipers.
b.
any rites or secrets known only to those initiated: the mysteries of Freemasonry.
c.
(in the Christian religion) the Eucharistic elements.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English mysterie < Latin mystērium < Greek mystḗrion, equivalent to mýs(tēs) (see mystic) + -tērion noun suffix


4. puzzle, problem, secret, riddle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged

mystery

2 [mis-tuh-ree]
noun, plural mysteries. Archaic.
1.
a craft or trade.
2.
a guild, as of merchants.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English mistery < Medieval Latin misterium, variant of Latin ministerium ministry

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mystery1 (ˈmɪstərɪ, -trɪ)
 
n , pl -teries
1.  an unexplained or inexplicable event, phenomenon, etc
2.  a person or thing that arouses curiosity or suspense because of an unknown, obscure, or enigmatic quality
3.  the state or quality of being obscure, inexplicable, or enigmatic
4.  a story, film, etc, which arouses suspense and curiosity because of facts concealed
5.  Christianity any truth that is divinely revealed but otherwise unknowable
6.  Christianity a sacramental rite, such as the Eucharist, or (when plural) the consecrated elements of the Eucharist
7.  (often plural) any of various rites of certain ancient Mediterranean religions
8.  short for mystery play
 
[C14: via Latin from Greek mustērion secret rites. See mystic]

mystery2 (ˈmɪstərɪ)
 
n , pl -teries
1.  a trade, occupation, or craft
2.  a guild of craftsmen
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin mistērium, from Latin ministerium occupation, from minister official]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mystery
early 14c., in a theological sense, "religious truth via divine revelation, mystical presence of God," from Anglo-Fr. *misterie (O.Fr. mistere), from L. mysterium, from Gk. mysterion (usually in pl. mysteria) "secret rite or doctrine," from mystes "one who has been initiated," from myein "to close, shut,"
perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites). The Gk. word was used in Septuagint for "secret counsel of God," translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, "a hidden or secret thing," is from c.1300. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s. Meaning "detective story" first recorded in Eng. 1908.

mystery
"handicraft, trade, art," late 14c., from M.L. misterium, alt. of L. ministerium "service, occupation, office, ministry" (see ministry), influenced in form by M.L. mysterium (see mystery (1)) and in sense by maistrie "mastery." Now only in
mystery play, in ref. to the medieval performances, which often were staged by members of craft guilds. The two senses of mystery formed a common pun in (secular) Tudor theater.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Mystery definition


the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so designated (Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:8-11; Col. 1:25-27); a truth undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made manifest. The resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:51), and other doctrines which need to be explained but which cannot be fully understood by finite intelligence (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 13:2); the union between Christ and his people symbolized by the marriage union (Eph. 5:31, 32; comp. 6:19); the seven stars and the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20); and the woman clothed in scarlet (17:7), are also in this sense mysteries. The anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle (2 Thess. 2:7) the "mystery of iniquity."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Plane geometry remained a mystery to him.
You've probably heard about mystery shopping and survey taking.
Despite years of research the meaning of the songs remains an utter mystery.
Now I know it signifies a sense of mystery, of the unknown.
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