• enPR mĭsʹtərē, IPA: /ˈmɪstəɹi/, /ˈmɪstɹi/


  1. Something secret or unexplainable; an unknown. [From XIV century.]
    The truth behind the events remains a mystery.
  2. Someone or something with an obscure or puzzling nature.
    That man is a mystery.
  3. (obsolete) A secret or mystical meaning. [From XIV century.]
    • 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.
  4. A religious truth not understandable by the application of human reason alone (without divine aid). [From XIV century.]
    • 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.
  5. (archaic, outside, Eastern Orthodoxy) A sacrament. [From XV century.]
    • 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.
  6. (mostly, in plural) A secret religious celebration, admission to which was usually through initiation. [From XV century.]
    the Eleusinian mysteries
    the Mysteries of Mithras
  7. (Catholicism) A particular event or series of events in the life of Christ. [From XVII century.]
    The second decade of the Rosary concerns the Sorrowful mysteries, such as the crucifixion and the crowning with thorns.
  8. A craft, art or trade; specifically a guild of craftsmen.
    • , Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
      The trades, the crafts, the mysteries, would all be losers.
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