Having or seeming to have a hidden or ambiguous meaning; mysterious; often marked by an often perplexing brevity. "Cryptic" sometimes carries the deeper sense of secrecy or the occult, and is often sensed in Dada and in surrealist works. The history of "cryptic" starts with "kryptein," a Greek word meaning "to hide." From this word came "kryptos," meaning "hidden," which led to "crypticus," the Latin predecessor of our "cryptic." Not surprisingly, "cryptic" is closely related to "crypt." "Kryptein" also gave us several words having to do with secret codes, such as "cryptogram" and "cryptography" (the coding and decoding of secret messages). And in fact, something "cryptic" can sometimes seem as if written in code. (pr. krip'tik) Also see absurd, amphibolous, Dada, incongruity, irony, and Surrealism.

Glossary of Art Terms. 2014.

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  • Cryptic — Cryp tic (kr[i^]p t[i^]k), Cryptical Cryp tic*al ( t? kal), a. [L. crypticus, Gr. kryptiko s, fr. kry ptein to hide.] Hidden; secret; occult. Her [nature s] more cryptic ways of working. Glanvill. [1913 Webster] 2. incomprehensible to those not… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cryptic — can refer to: Crypsis, of animals that are difficult to observe Cryptic crossword, a crossword with cryptic clues Cryptic era, earliest period of the Earth Cryptic, an album by Edge of Sanity Cryptic Writings, an album by Megadeth Cryptic Studios …   Wikipedia

  • cryptic — [krip′tik] adj. [LL crypticus < Gr kryptikos < kryptos: see CRYPT] 1. a) having a hidden or ambiguous meaning; mysterious; baffling [a cryptic comment] b) obscure and curt in expression 2. Zool. serving to conceal, as the form or coloring… …   English World dictionary

  • cryptic — index covert, debatable, disputable, enigmatic, esoteric, hidden, indefinable, indefinite, indeterminate …   Law dictionary

  • cryptic — 1630s, hidden, occult, mystical, from L.L. crypticus, from Gk. kryptikos fit for concealing, from kryptos hidden (see CRYPT (Cf. crypt)). Meaning mysterious, enigmatic is recorded from 1920. Related: Cryptically …   Etymology dictionary

  • cryptic — enigmatic, *obscure, dark, vague, ambiguous, equivocal Analogous words: puzzling, perplexing, mystifying (see PUZZLE vb): occult, esoteric, *recondite: *mysterious, arcane …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • cryptic — [adj] secret; obscure in meaning abstruse, ambiguous, apocryphal, arcane, cabalistic, dark, Delphian, Delphic, enigmatic, equivocal, esoteric, evasive, hidden, incomprehensible, inexplicable, murky, mysterious, mystic, mystical, mystifying,… …   New thesaurus

  • cryptic — ► ADJECTIVE 1) mysterious or obscure in meaning. 2) (of a crossword) having difficult clues which indicate the solutions indirectly. 3) Zoology serving to camouflage an animal in its natural environment. DERIVATIVES cryptically adverb. ORIGIN… …   English terms dictionary

  • cryptic — adjective Etymology: Late Latin crypticus, from Greek kryptikos, from kryptos Date: circa 1638 1. secret, occult 2. a. having or seeming to have a hidden or ambiguous meaning ; mysterious …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cryptic — Anything hidden. 1. Structurally heterozygous individuals that are not identifiable as they do not show abnormal meiotic chromosome pairing configurations ( cryptic structural hybrids ). 2. A form of polymorphism controlled by recessive genes (… …   Glossary of Biotechnology

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