mystery - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] something that you are not able to understand, explain, or get information about

    I just can’t think who she could have been – it’s a mystery.

    The exact origin of the universe remains a mystery.

    solve/unravel a mystery (=explain it):

    The police are trying to unravel the mystery of his disappearance.

    be a mystery to someone:

    Why she left is still a mystery to him.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] a quality that makes someone or something difficult to explain, understand, or get information about, especially when it also makes them seem interesting or exciting
    air/aura of mystery:

    a woman with an air of mystery about her

    shrouded/cloaked in mystery:

    His past is shrouded in mystery.

    1. a.
      [countable] someone or something that is interesting or exciting because they are difficult to explain, understand, or get information about

      David’s always been a bit of a mystery.

  3. 3
    [countable] a story, film, or play in which events take place that are not explained until the end, especially a crime such as murder

    an Ellery Queen mystery

  4. 4


    [plural] often humorous information about a subject or activity that only some people are allowed to know
    mystery of:

    You’ll learn all about the mysteries of the darkroom and printing processes.

  5. 5
    [countable] something relating to religion or God that you cannot explain using reason or science but that you believe is true

    the mystery of salvation

    1. a.
      in some branches of Christianity, another name for the sacraments (=holy ceremonies)

      belief in the Eucharistic mystery

    2. b.


      in many religions, secret rituals in which only certain people are allowed to take part

      The initiates in the Eleusinian mysteries hoped for a rebirth of Dionysus.