Trivia Teaser

Who is the author of the novel "Bleak House"?

Susan Howatch
Gaston Leroux
Jane Austen
Charles Dickens

Puzzling Words


By Christine Lovatt

If you’re feeling puzzled by posers, bewildered by brain teasers or confounded by cryptograms, at least be grateful that there are a plethora of words to describe your condition.

Why do some meanings have so many synonyms? I don’t know. But there’s no shortage of words to describe that puzzled feeling we all have sometimes, whether it’s being faced just with a word puzzle or with one of life’s little problems.

You could be dazed or confused…..nonplussed, stumped, flooredmystified or befuddled. And there are wonderful words like baffled, perplexed, flummoxed and bamboozled. And expressions such as mind-boggling, in a dilemma, going round in circles or without a clue.

Then there are those fascinating words meaning a puzzle – riddle, conundrum, labyrinth or enigma.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word enigma, meaning a person or thing difficult to understand, comes from the Greek ainissesthai  ‘to speak allusively’ from ainos meaning ‘fable’.

The ancient Greeks were obviously just as puzzled then as we are now, but I bet they didn’t have as many words as we have, to describe it.


Happy Riddling!




1 Response to

Puzzling Words

oma said:
December 11, 2007 at 8:19 AM


Yes, there are many words that consist with each other and still more synonyms for those words. That's just the goal of riddling!