"White bunny. Moon square." Do you understand what that means? Of course not! It's totally cryptic. Cryptic comments or messages are hard to understand because they seem to have a hidden meaning.

Cryptic is from Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kryptos, "hidden." This Greek adjective is the source of the English noun crypt, referring to a room under a church in which dead people are buried. That might account for why the word cryptic has an eerie tone to it.

Definitions of cryptic

adj having a secret or hidden meaning

cryptic writings”
cabalistic, cryptical, kabbalistic, qabalistic, sibylline
confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle

adj of an obscure nature

“the new insurance policy is written without cryptic or mysterious terms”
cryptical, deep, inscrutable, mysterious, mystifying
incomprehensible, inexplicable
incapable of being explained or accounted for

adj having a puzzling terseness

“a cryptic note”
expressing much in few words

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.