cryptic

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

cryptic (comparative more cryptic, superlative most cryptic)

  1. Having hidden meaning.
  2. Mystified or of an obscure nature.
    • 1665, Joseph Glanvill, “An Apology for Philosophy”, in Scepsis Scientifica: Or, Confest Ignorance, the way to Science, London: E. Cotes, page 182:
      I think the Original of this conceit might be, That the Students of Nature, conſcious to her more cryptick wayes of working, reſolve many ſtrange effects into the nearer efficiency of ſecond cauſes []
  3. Involving use of a code or cipher.
  4. (zoology) Well camouflaged; having good camouflage.
    Lonomia caterpillars are extremely cryptic.
  5. (zoology) Serving as camouflage.
    cryptic colouring
    • 1911, “Colours of Animals”, in The Encyclopædia Britannica, volume V, 11th edition, page 732:
      Episematic characters are far less common than aposematic, and these than cryptic; although, as regards the latter comparison, the opposite impression is generally produced from the fact that concealment is so successfully attained.
  6. (biology) Apparently identical, but actually genetically distinct.
    cryptic species

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

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.

Derived terms[edit]