ænigma

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Noun[edit]

ænigma (plural ænigmas or ænigmata)

  1. (chiefly archaic) Alternative spelling of enigma
    • 1725, Theſaurus Ænigmaticus : Or, A Collection of the Moſt Ingenious and Diverting Ænigma’s or Riddles : The Whole Being Deſign’d for Universal Entertainment; And in Particular for the Exerciſe of the Fancies of the Curious. To which is Prefix’d : A Preface, and a Diſcourſe of Ænigma’s in General., in the book title{1} and on many other pages{2} & {3} (J. Wilford):
      {1} Theſaurus Ænigmaticus : Or, A Collection of the Moſt Ingenious and Diverting Ænigma’s or Riddles : The Whole Being Deſign’d for Universal Entertainment; And in Particular for the Exerciſe of the Fancies of the Curious. To which is Prefix’d : A Preface, and a Diſcourſe of Ænigma’s in General.
      {2} An Ænigma, or Riddle, is a dirk Deſcription…
      {3} …to Man, than to offer and ſolve difficult Queſtions, affecting by that ſome Recommendation of Wit above the reſt. We muſt not therefore imagine that Ænigma’s
    • 1831, The Olio, Or, Museum of Entertainment, “Ænigmas. For the Olio.”, page 101:
      The word ænigma, which is derived from the Greek substantive ainigma, which the Latins call scirpus, signifies an obscure speech, or discourse, covering something common and universally known, under remote and uncommon terms. It is also frequently called riddle, probably from the Belgic readen, or the Saxon araethanto interpret. Fra. Junius defines an ænigma to be an obscure parable or allegory, of which, he says, there are two kinds; the greater rendering the sentence more intricate and difficult of solution, by a multitude of words, and the lesser consisting of one or more words remote in their allusion []
      The rebus is also ranked by some in the number of ænigmas. In a general sense, however, every dark saying, every difficult question, every parable, &c. may pass for an ænigma; hence obscure laws are called ænigmata juris.
    • 1957, Emil Aarestrup, Christian Frederik Petersen, and Morten Borup, Emil Aarestrups breve til Christian Petersen, page 220 (Gyldendal):
      [] The whole is a riddle, an ænigma, an inexplicable mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspence of judgment appear the only result of our most accurate scrutiny concerning this subject. But such is the frailty of human reason and such the irresistible contagion of opinion, that even this deliberate doubt could scarcely be upheld.
    • 2007, Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis — Or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions, page 227 (READ BOOKS; ISBN 1406751669, 978-1406751666):
      Why does not God make his priest speak out, intelligibly and clearly ? Why did not the prophet tell the Jews, that their next Messiah should be a spiritual not a temporal Messiah, like all their former Messiahs ? But every prophecy is an ænigma to be expounded by the priest. Here, again, we have the system of secrecy which prevails through every part of the ancient world. Every thing was allegory and ænigma, contrived for the purpose of supporting the power of the favoured initiated.