Having a meaning that is mysterious or difficult to understand, often intentionally so in order to conceal its true meaning


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Enigmatic, obscure, puzzling, mysterious, mystifying, inscrutable


Clear, straightforward, unambiguous, explicit

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective cryptic
Adverb cryptically

Example Sentences

  • The cryptic message left behind by the anonymous sender contained a series of enigmatic symbols and coded phrases, perplexing the recipient who spent countless hours deciphering its hidden meaning, their mind consumed by the intriguing puzzle that lay before them.

  • The professor’s lecture was filled with cryptic references that only a few students were able to understand.

  • The painting was full of cryptic symbols and hidden meanings that were difficult to decipher.

  • The crossword puzzle was filled with cryptic clues that challenged even the most experienced solvers.


The word “cryptic” describes something that is mysterious or difficult to understand. It can refer to anything that is intentionally or unintentionally obscure, whether it is a message, a work of art, or a person’s behavior. The word comes from the Greek “kryptos”, meaning hidden or secret.

In everyday usage, “cryptic” often has a negative connotation, as it implies that the thing being described is deliberately obscure or confusing. This can make it difficult for people to understand the true meaning behind the words or actions. For example, a cryptic message might be difficult to understand because it is written in code or uses ambiguous language.