What does “enigma” mean?
Part of Speech: NOUN
Pronunciations: IPA: /ə.ˈnɪg.mə/ Glossary-style: [uh-NIHG-muh]
Definition: something or someone that is difficult to understand or explain. a mystery.
Example: Never one to reveal her true motives or feelings, Patricia remained an enigma to most who knew her.
Discussion: When we think of an enigma, we often think of an entertaining riddle, intellectual challenge, or a mystery to be solved. Mona Lisa’s smile is often referred to as enigmatic because some people wonder what she’s smiling about. (I don’t really care, honestly. But people do talk about a “Mona Lisa smile”.)
The word “enigma” bears a strong connection with the word “riddle”, as the word “enigma” derives ultimately from the Greek ainos, which means riddle or fable.
Finally, some people are described as enigmas when others find them to be inscrutable or wonder what they’re thinking.