I'm looking for the word that means "solved enigma", does anyone know it?

I don't know how the word will be used, I'm reading it from a dictionary.


  • "known fact"? I.e., You might say, "That is an enigma" but after you've figured it out, it just becomes "a known fact". – Jim Dec 11 '15 at 21:46
  • 3
    "Revelation" ... ? – Graffito Dec 11 '15 at 21:59
  • 1
    "Revelation" sounds like exactly what I'm going through... – Rob Dec 11 '15 at 22:06

It depends on the enigma:
If you find out how the tooth-brush got onto the bird-table it's an explanation
If you find out why potatoes grow best in acid /peat soils, it's a discovery.
If you know what @Graffitto knows it's a revelation.
And if you catch a glimpse of the meaning of life it's an epiphany.

In this answer, if you will forgive me, there are no ready-made dictionary links, because without the discovery process there is no revelation.


According to Thamy Pogrebinschi, Karl Marx conceived of a solved enigma "(aufgelöste Rätsel)" as an enigma that

knows itself to be the solution for itself. It is a concept that contains simultaneously in itself an enigma and the solution to decipher it.

Thamy goes on to explain that

As the solved enigma of every constitution, Marxian democracy presents itself as the answer to the problems arisen by the modern political forms.

(From "Democracy against Law: A Marxian Standpoint", presented at the Proceedings of the American Political Science Association 2007 Annual Meeting.)

This is perhaps a more enigmatic answer than you might want, but the upshot is that a solved enigma may be called

Marxian democracy.

Equally, though, whatever you call any enigma wandering around that

knows itself to be a solution for itself

will be what a solved enigma is called. It gets metaphysical when you consider that part of the contention of this definition is that political systems are capable of knowledge. Beyond political systems (I speculate), the only candidates for such enigmas are human. Thus, a solved enigma might well be called 'Bill', or 'Sue', or even 'hey, you!'.

Another, perhaps authoritative, take on the puzzle of the mystery of what the solved enigma is called is a term ascribed (perhaps out of a second-language confusion?) to "arrogant intellectuals":

The result is that the State, which is the only employer, becomes omnipotent and transforms the direct producers into “slaves of bureaucracy”.

Today, this truth, after the global failure of the Marxist-Leninist Communism, is almost obvious. But, when Rizzi explained this idea in its innumerable articles, he obtained only commentaries full of arrogance by our intellectuals, who were blind and deaf as regards reality, and arrogantly convinced that the economical collectivism was “the solved enigma of history”.

(From the Bruno Rizzi website, in an entry titled "A TALENTED AUTODIDACT AT WAR WITH THE 'BUREAUSAURS'", by LUCIANO PELLICANI, Feb. 16, 1990.)

Here we see (clearly?) that "arrogant intellectuals" call a solved enigma

economical collectivism.

A gentler, more expansive and less demanding term for the solved enigma is

filled in gap.

This hopeful, uncomplicated appellation is offered by Cal Svensson in "The construction of poetic meaning ☆: A developmental study of symbolic and non-symbolic strategies in the interpretation of contemporary poetry" (Poetics, Volume 16, Issue 6, December 1987, Pages 471–503):

The solved enigma or filled in gap is possible to conceive of as the answer to a question addressed to the literary work by the reader (cf. Prince (1982: 103)).

These, then, are what a solved enigma is called:

  • Marxian democracy;
  • economical collectivism;
  • filled in gap.

However, you might want to accept the implicit advice of Lévi-Strauss offered via Francisco Vaz da Silva in Metamorphosis: The dynamics of symbolism in European fairy tales:

Vaz da Silva brings together what, on the surface of consciousness and of stories, should be kept apart—as with incest, as phrased by Lévi-Strauss and quoted by our author: “like the solved enigma, incest unites terms that ought to remain separate.”

(From 'Francisco Vaz da Silva in Metamorphosis: The dynamics of symbolism in European fairy tales, "International Folkloristics" 1, prefaced by Alan Dundes, New York, Peter Lang, 2002', E.L.O. 9-10 (2003-4) – Notas e Recensões, Isabel Cardigos.)


A solved enigma is no longer an enigma, it is a former enigma, because once solved it ceases to be one.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.