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 Dictionary entry overview: What does cryptic mean? 

CRYPTIC (adjective)
  The adjective CRYPTIC has 3 senses:

1. of an obscure nature
2. having a secret or hidden meaning
3. having a puzzling terseness

  Familiarity information: CRYPTIC used as an adjective is uncommon.

 Dictionary entry details 

CRYPTIC (adjective)

Sense 1cryptic [BACK TO TOP]


Of an obscure nature


cryptic; cryptical; inscrutable; mysterious; mystifying; deep

Context examples:

the new insurance policy is written without cryptic or mysterious terms / a deep dark secret / the inscrutable workings of Providence / in its mysterious past it encompasses all the dim origins of life / rituals totally mystifying to visitors from other lands


incomprehensible; inexplicable (incapable of being explained or accounted for)

Sense 2cryptic [BACK TO TOP]


Having a secret or hidden meaning


cabalistic; qabalistic; kabbalistic; sibylline; cryptical; cryptic

Context examples:

cabalistic symbols engraved in stone / cryptic writings / thoroughly sibylline in most of his pronouncements


esoteric (confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle)

Sense 3cryptic [BACK TO TOP]


Having a puzzling terseness

Context example:

a cryptic note


concise (expressing much in few words)

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