mysterious


mysterious
mysterious, inscrutable, arcane mean beyond one's power to discover, understand, or explain.
Something mysterious excites wonder, curiosity, or surmise yet baffles all attempts to explain it
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extremes in Nature equal ends produce, in Man they join to some mysterious use— Pope

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God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform— Cowper

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brought back a vivid report on remote and mysterious Tibet— W. O. Douglas

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Something inscrutable defies all one's efforts to examine or investigate it and leaves one with a sense of hopelessness or defeat
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great God, thy judgments are inscrutableBrowning

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the plaything of an inscrutable power, called Fortune— Bradley

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The word is often applied to a person whose intentions, motives, or mental processes are so well concealed that they defy interpretation
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many fathers feel that, if they are to maintain their authority, they must be a little distant and inscrutableBenson

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people who prefer to stand at the bar have, universally, an inscrutable look— Pynchon

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Something arcane is beyond comprehension because known or knowable only to the possessor of the secret (sometimes by implication God, Nature, the Fates, or the authorities). The word may come close to occult in meaning, but it stresses the reservation of what is necessary for comprehension rather than the supranatural or magical character of what is not understood
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by behaving as if he were a trickster, Shaw managed to hide the arcane processes of his imaginative life— Anthony West

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not surprised to find his ways crossed and contested by his wife, who had her own arcane rites such as arranging flowers and cleaning closets— Cheever

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Analogous words: occult, esoteric, *recondite, abstruse: cryptic, enigmatic, ambiguous, equivocal, *obscure: *mystical, mystic, anagogical, cabalistic

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mysterious — [mis tir′ē əs] adj. [< L mysterium (see MYSTERY1) + OUS] of, containing, implying, or characterized by mystery mysteriously adv. mysteriousness n. SYN. MYSTERIOUS is applied to that which excites curiosity, wonder, etc. but is impossible or… …   English World dictionary

  • Mysterious — Mys*te ri*ous, a. [F. myst[ e]rieux. See 1st {Mystery}.] Of or pertaining to mystery; containing a mystery; difficult or impossible to understand; inexplicable; obscure; not revealed or explained; enigmatical; incomprehensible. [1913 Webster] God …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mysterious — I adjective abstruse, arcane, arcanus, baffling, cabalistic, clandestine, cloaked, coded, concealed, covert, cryptic, dark, disguised, enigmatic, enigmatical, esoteric, furtive, hidden, impenetrable, incomprehensible, ineffable, inexplicable,… …   Law dictionary

  • mysterious — (adj.) 1610s, full of mystery, from L. mysterium (see MYSTERY (Cf. mystery) (1)) + OUS (Cf. ous). Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from L.L. mysterialis …   Etymology dictionary

  • mysterious — [adj] secret, concealed abstruse, alchemistic, arcane, astrological, baffling, cabalistic, covert, cryptic, curious, dark, difficult, enigmatic, enigmatical, equivocal, esoteric, furtive, hidden, impenetrable, incomprehensible, inexplicable,… …   New thesaurus

  • mysterious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) difficult or impossible to understand, explain, or identify. 2) deliberately enigmatic. DERIVATIVES mysteriously adverb mysteriousness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • mysterious — mys|te|ri|ous [mıˈstıəriəs US ˈstır ] adj 1.) mysterious events or situations are difficult to explain or understand ▪ The police are investigating the mysterious deaths of children at the hospital. ▪ Benson later disappeared in mysterious… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mysterious — adjective 1 mysterious events, behaviour, or situations are difficult to explain or understand: His father died of a mysterious disease. | a mysterious smile | in mysterious circumstances: Benson later disappeared in mysterious circumstances. 2 a …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • mysterious — mys|te|ri|ous [ mı stıriəs ] adjective ** 1. ) not explained or understood: They are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a young man. mysterious circumstances: He died in mysterious circumstances. a ) not recognized or known: a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • mysterious — [[t]mɪstɪ͟əriəs[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED Someone or something that is mysterious is strange and is not known about or understood. He died in mysterious circumstances... A mysterious illness confined him to bed for over a month... The whole thing seems… …   English dictionary


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