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From Late Latin crypticus, from Ancient Greek κρυπτικός (kruptikós), from κρυπτός (kruptós, hidden), from κρύπτω (krúptō, to hide). Also see: cryptology.



cryptic (comparative more cryptic, superlative most cryptic)

  1. Having hidden meaning.
  2. Mystified or of an obscure nature.
    • Glanvill
      Her [nature's] more cryptic ways of working.
  3. Involving use of code or cipher/cypher.
  4. (zoology) Well camouflaged; having good camouflage.
    Lonomia caterpillars are extremely cryptic.
  5. (biology) Apparently identical, but actually genetically distinct.
    cryptic species



cryptic (plural cryptics)

  1. (informal) A cryptic crossword.
    • 1996, Mary McCarthy, Remember Me, page 85:
      He settled down to the cryptic in the Independent. He loved his crossword. It kept him mentally active, just as gossip did his wife.
    • 2009, Bill Taylor, Building a crossword (in Toronto Star, 1 February 2009)
      This writer has been solving cryptics for 40 years and can usually crack Araucaria, though it might take a couple of days.

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