English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle English mysterie, from Anglo-Norman misterie (Old French mistere), from Latin mysterium, from Ancient Greek μυστήριον (mustḗrion, a mystery, a secret, a secret rite), from μύστης (mústēs, initiated one), from μυέω (muéō, I initiate), from μύω (múō, I shut). Displaced native Old English ġerȳne.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: mĭsʹt(ə)rē, IPA(key): /ˈmɪst(ə)ɹi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪstəɹi
  • Hyphenation: mys‧te‧ry, myst‧ery

Noun edit

mystery (countable and uncountable, plural mysteries)

  1. Something secret or unexplainable; an unknown.
    The truth behind the events remains a mystery.
    • 1927, F. E. Penny, chapter 4, in Pulling the Strings:
      The case was that of a murder. It had an element of mystery about it, however, which was puzzling the authorities. A turban and loincloth soaked in blood had been found; also a staff.
  2. Someone or something with an obscure or puzzling nature.
    That man is a mystery.
  3. An account, story, book, film, or play, often with the theme of crime or murder, with a surprise ending that explains all the strange events that have occurred.
  4. (obsolete) A secret or mystical meaning.
    • 1567, Matteo Bandello, Certain Tragical Discourses of Bandello, tr. Geffraie Fenton:
      ...and, not knowing the meaning or misterie of her pollicie, forgat no termes of reproche or rigorous rebuke against his chast doughter.
  5. A religious truth not understandable by the application of human reason alone (without divine aid).
    • 1744 (first printed), Jonathan Swift, A Sermon on the Trinity
      If God should please to reveal unto us this great mystery of the Trinity, or some other mysteries in our holy religion, we should not be able to understand them, unless he would bestow on us some new faculties of the mind.
  6. (archaic outside Eastern Orthodoxy) A sacrament.
    • 1809, Sir Robert Ker Porter, Travelling Sketches in Russia and Sweden: During the Years 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808:
      There are seven mysteries, or sacraments, in the Greek church, viz. baptism, the chrism (a rite peculiar to this church), the eucharist, confession, ordination, marriage, and the holy oil.
  7. (chiefly in the plural) A secret religious celebration, admission to which was usually through initiation.
    the Mysteries of Mithras
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I, page 196:
      There’s no initiation either into such mysteries.
    • 1928, Lewis Spence, Mysteries of Britain, page v. 123:
      It is, indeed, part of the ritual of the candidate for adeptship into the British mysteries, resembling that for the neophyte into the Osirian, Cabiric or Orphean mysteries.
  8. (Catholicism) A particular event or series of events in the life of Christ.
    The second decade of the Rosary concerns the Sorrowful mysteries, such as the crucifixion and the crowning with thorns.
  9. (archaic) A craft, art or trade; specifically a guild of craftsmen.[1]

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References edit

Middle English edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Anglo-Norman misterie.

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of mysterie (mystery)

Etymology 2 edit

From Old French mistere.

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of mysterie (duty)