This is not a rhetorical question (because no one knows the answer). It is kind of like a dilemma in that it's difficult to answer; however, it does not quite fall under a "what is the meaning of life" category of questions where the answer is highly subjective.

  • Related question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/168458/… – ScotM Mar 12 '15 at 22:12
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    Is your question a type of this question? – ermanen Mar 12 '15 at 22:47
  • By the way, a rhetorical question is a question that is asked for the effect it produces. One common use is in speeches, or rhetoric, where the name comes from. A rhetorical question may or may not have an answer, and may or may not be intended to be answered. – CJ Dennis Aug 5 '18 at 5:18

Perhaps what you face is an enigma?

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    Possibly a conundrum? – AMLash Mar 12 '15 at 20:54
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    Yeah, if you're stuck for the word and is seems to be blocking things up, try an enigma in your conundrum. And if that doesn't fix things you'd better call in a paradox to give you a checkup. – Hot Licks Mar 12 '15 at 22:01
  • @HotLicks: Wucka wucka! (as Fozzy Bear would say!). Don – rhetorician Mar 13 '15 at 0:43
  • That's it. Conundrum is what I was stuck on. Thank you, AMLash! – Lost for Words Mar 14 '15 at 17:01

Probably a mystery:

  • an unexplained or inexplicable event, phenomenon, etc

  • something that is not fully understood or that baffles or eludes the understanding; an enigma: How he got here is a mystery.

( TFD)


To take cue from your own comment


  1. A confusing and difficult problem or question.

    1.1 A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle

Although a conundrum usually has an answer I might suggest


Unable to be explained or accounted for.



Not confirmed; unknown.


In the field of education we refer to unanswerable questions as "essential questions" and encourage teachers to plan units around them. Examples include "what are the limits of arithmetic?" or "Who is responsible for the atrocities of previous generations?"

It's not that they cannot be answered, but that there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. Just theories that students construct and interrogate.


It depends entirely on the context. I'm only 13 so this may be false, but it is not 'a' word, normally it would be an inexplicable question but if you're talking about a question that is simply impossible to answer but it seems like their should be an answer it is a dilemma


paradoxial ? a question in which the answers are contradictory.

  • I don’t think that even if that were spelled correctly it is what OP is after. – Jim Oct 2 '17 at 16:22

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