mysterious (adj.)

1610s, "full of mystery, obscure, not revealed or explained," from Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.1)) + -ous. Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness. Earlier in same sense was mysterial (early 15c.), from Late Latin mysterialis.

Mysterious is the most common word for that which is unknown and excites curiosity and perhaps awe; the word is sometimes used where mystic would be more precise. Mystic is especially used of that which has been designed to excite and baffle curiosity, involving meanings in signs, rites, etc., but not with sufficient plainness to be understood by any but the initiated. [Century Dictionary]

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm
[Cowper, from the "Olney Hymns," 1779]

Related: Mysteriously; mysteriousness.

updated on March 28, 2019

Definitions of mysterious from WordNet

mysterious (adj.)
of an obscure nature; "in its mysterious past it encompasses all the dim origins of life"- Rachel Carson;
the new insurance policy is written without cryptic or mysterious terms
Synonyms: cryptic / cryptical / deep / inscrutable / mystifying
mysterious (adj.)
having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding;
mysterious symbols
Synonyms: mystic / mystical / occult / secret / orphic
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.