Through the word of the week, students will be challenged to develop and extend their vocabulary through learning and using a specific word each week.

‘Word of the Week’ sees students being introduced to a selected word every new week.  Students will be expected to learn to read the word correctly, spell it and understand its meaning.  In developing their vocabulary further they will also be taught further words of similar meaning and given examples of word use.

Each week has a word for focus, and this week we’ll be focusing on the word ‘enigma’. You can find other words of the week here


Part Of Speech: Noun



1 : something hard to understand or explain

2 : an inscrutable or mysterious person

3 : an obscure speech or writing


  • Despite the enigma of the singularity, the big bang theory is unquestionably one of the most successful ideas in the history of science.
  • Many scholars call it the ultimate enigma of the Nazi era, indeed perhaps of modern history: How did the Holocaust happen? And why in Germany?
  • Why she quit the team is an enigma to me.


Words similar to Enigma and that can be used as substitutes/ substitutions in sentences include

closed book, conundrum, head-scratcher, mystery, mystification, puzzle, puzzlement, riddle, secret, why.

Frequently Asked Questions About enigma

  • How does the noun enigma differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of enigma are mystery, problem, puzzle, and riddle. While all these words mean “something which baffles or perplexes,” enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret.

Example: his suicide remains an enigma

  • When would mystery be a good substitute for enigma?

The words mystery and enigma can be used in similar contexts, but mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation.

Example: the mystery of the stone monoliths

  • When is it sensible to use problem instead of enigma?

In some situations, the words problem and enigma are roughly equivalent. However, problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern.

Example: problems created by high technology

  • Where would puzzle be a reasonable alternative to enigma?

The words puzzle and enigma are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution.

Example: the thief’s motives were a puzzle for the police

  • When is riddle a more appropriate choice than enigma?

The meanings of riddle and enigma largely overlap; however, riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction.

Example: the riddle of the reclusive pop star

First Known Use of ‘enigma’

The first known use of enigma was in 1539

History and Etymology for Enigma

Latin aenigma, from Greek ainigmat-, ainigma, from ainissesthai to speak in riddles, from ainos fable

Words Related to Enigma

brainteaser, case, challenge, knot, matter, perplexity, poser, problem, stumper, trouble


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