enigma

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n enigma something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained "how it got out is a mystery","it remains one of nature's secrets"
    • n enigma a difficult problem
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • enigma A dark, obscure, or inexplicable saying; a riddle; a statement, the hidden meaning of which is to be discovered or guessed. "A custom was among the ancients of proposing an enigma at festivals."
    • enigma An action, mode of action, or thing, which cannot be satisfactorily explained; a puzzle; as, his conduct is an enigma .
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n enigma A dark saying or representation, in which some known thing is concealed under obscure words or forms; a question, saying, figure, or design containing a hidden meaning which is proposed for discovery; a riddle.
    • n enigma Anything inexplicable to an observer, such as the means by which something is effected, the motive for a course of conduct, the cause of a phenomenon, etc.: as, how it was done is an enigma; his conduct is to me an enigma.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Enigma en-ig′ma a statement with a hidden meaning to be guessed: anything very obscure: a riddle
    • ***

Quotations

  • Jean Baudrillard
    Jean%20Baudrillard
    “We shall never resolve the enigma of the relation between the negative foundations of greatness and that greatness itself.”
  • Winston Churchill
    Winston%20Churchill
    “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. [About Russia]”
  • Joseph Joubert
    Joseph Joubert
    “Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. aenigma, Gr. a'i`nigma, fr. a'ini`ssesqai to speak darkly, fr. a'i^nos tale, fable
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. ænigma—Gr. ainigmaainissesthai, to speak darkly—ainos, a fable.

Usage

In literature:

I recognised in art the Sphinx whose enigma is never solved.
"In the Days of My Youth" by Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards
But you speak in enigmas.
"The Water-Witch or, The Skimmer of the Seas" by James Fenimore Cooper
His hope was that Sisily could reveal something which would furnish the key to the enigma of that night's events.
"The Moon Rock" by Arthur J. Rees
It is difficult for a man of sterling talent to perpetrate a pun, or to solve an enigma.
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 583" by Various
It was all an abominable enigma, as Aleta said.
"Port O' Gold" by Louis John Stellman
There was in his mystery a vague reverberation of all enigmas.
"The Man Who Laughs" by Victor Hugo
It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that never before had the enigma of the universe occurred to him.
"The Regent" by E. Arnold Bennett
She was not young; her age was an enigma.
"The Roll-Call" by Arnold Bennett
No answer in the darkness to these enigmas!...
"The Pretty Lady" by Arnold E. Bennett
Four days after he was to return with the same arms and to explain the enigmas proposed by the magi.
"Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories" by Edited by Julian Hawthorne
***

In poetry:

The tale of Sphinx, and Theban jests
I true in me perceive;
I suffer riddles; death from dark
Enigmas I receive:
"The Ape" by Charles Lamb
ROSAURA. What enigmas, O ye skies!
After many a sigh and tear,
Thus in doubt to leave me here
With equivocal replies!
"Life Is A Dream - Act III" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
Poets were at the root of it
and to the women who name things
it was all an enigma.
So stones were left unturned,
avenues were not explored.
"The Ministry of Words" by Raymond Queneau
Then think of a queen who boldly addressed
(Uncalled) a king on his throne,
And let her initial be joined with the rest,
Th' Enigma to make known.
"Enigma XXXIV." by Elizabeth Hitchener
A horrid mutiny by stealth
Breaks out,--of power, fame and wealth
Deserted you shall be!
The foam upon your lip is rife;
The last enigma now of Life
Shall Death resolve for thee.
"To The Fortune Seeker" by Morris Rosenfeld
Passage to you, your shores, ye aged fierce enigmas!
Passage to you, to mastership of you, ye strangling problems!
You, strew'd with the wrecks of skeletons, that, living, never
reach'd you.
"Passage To India" by Walt Whitman

In news:

The enigma of Mrs Russell Williams.
The 23 enigma reigns at Michael Jordan's Steak House.
Covering the Enigma That Is Ichiro.
50 years after her death, the screen siren remains an enigma .
GCHQ gives rare Enigma machine to Bletchley Park museum.
Once an enigma among growers, Eduardo Fernández's Aganorsa S.A. Is now a dominant force in Nicaraguan tobacco.
An enigma for the left.
616 The Enigma of OCD.
Iran's nuclear program: the riddle, the enigma and the mystery.
Tom of Toms Creek Road remains an enigma .
In Backing Romney, Haley Seen As Political Enigma .
Fox's 'Alcatraz': An enigma in a mystery in a riddle already unwrapped for you.
The 'great successor' remains an enigma .
"SMiLE" remains rock's most brilliant, weirdly wonderful enigma .
Packer fans an enigma /Paul Peterson.
***

In science:

The origin of the difference in enrichment history between dSph and dIrr galaxies is still an enigma (Grebel et al. 2003).
The Planetary Nebula population of the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy
The enigma is the Great Carina Nebula, a dusty system of massive molecular clouds which provides the raw material for star formation in this region and which is ionized and shaped by radiation and stellar winds from those selfsame stars.
Eta Car and Its Surroundings: the X-ray Diagnosis
Also the magnetic field of individual coronal loops still poses a most intriguing enigma, because the observed loop structures do not fan out with height as much as the theoretically calculated linear force-free extrapolation predicts (Lopez Fuentes et al. 2006).
Astrophysics in 2006
RHESSI Observations One enigma raised by recent RHESSI observations is the initial altitude decrease of flare X-ray looptop sources before changing to the commonly observed upward expansion of the postflare loop system.
Astrophysics in 2006
Will classical particle physics, in fact LHC, provide candidates? Even if that’s the case they still need to be observed in DM-search experiments outside accelerators to solve the DM-enigma of astrophysics.
Summary Talk: Challenges in Particle Astrophysics
***