Definition of “mystery” - English Dictionary

“mystery” in British English

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uk /ˈmɪs.tər.i/ us /ˈmɪs.tɚ.i/


B1 [ C or U ] something strange or not known that has not yet been explained or understood:

How the massive stones were brought here from hundreds of miles away is/remains a mystery.
The mystery was solved when the police discovered the murder weapon.
The book tries to explain some of the mysteries of life.
The details of the scandal remain cloaked/shrouded/wrapped in mystery.
It's a complete mystery (to me) that/why (= I do not understand why) she married him at all!

More examples

  • They never cleared up the mystery of the missing money.
  • He was a man of mystery - erased from the history books.
  • I'm afraid it's a fathomless mystery.
  • There was a feel of mystery about the place.
  • Why anyone buys music with such insipid lyrics is a mystery.

(Definition of “mystery” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“mystery” in American English

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mysterynoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈmɪs·tə·ri/

something strange or unknown which has not yet been explained or understood:

[ C ] Despite years of study, sleepwalking remains a mystery.
[ U ] The details of the scandal are shrouded in mystery.

A mystery is also a book, movie, or play about a crime or other event that is difficult to explain:

[ C ] a murder mystery
adjective us /mɪˈstɪər·i·əs/

He tried to convince this mysterious woman to go out with him.
adverb us /mɪˈstɪər·i·əs·li/

The light mysteriously came on, although no one was near the switch.


(Definition of “mystery” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)