I am about to coin the word 'conundrous' because I needed it (and I think it deserves a place in the dictionary)!

I would like comments on what you think about that (in the context of a serious article, or I wouldn't have to ask), but the question is as stated — if you can supply one or more adjectives that are synonymous with such an adjective, that's the answer for me. :)

If there are none, I will be happy to accept close synonyms — the Merriam-Webster definition (of the noun) is here: conundrum

I'm after the "difficult problem" (but not the "pun") synonymity. It's used to describe a word from an ancient text which is seemingly not in the dictionaries; hard to find information about.

There's enigmatic, but it's just a mystery for the moment; it's not something that is by definition mysterious.

There's elusive, but I think that carries the connotation of forever escaping one's reach.

  • I think conundrous doesn't sound well; I prefer conundrummy or conundroumy, which are less pompous – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 20 '12 at 19:14
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    Google reveals that there are some occurrences of "conundral". – Mark Beadles Jul 20 '12 at 19:26
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    @MarkBeadles, and also conundrical, which to me seems better language-wise but perhaps not in other aspects. – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 19:56
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    @jwpat7, I can't help but feel that just adding -y or -ish is a last resort. – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 19:57
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    @MarkBeadles, +1 for making at least consider trying stuff out in Google. Conundric has also been used, but that sounds a bit like geologic, simply experimental and a bit "off" ;p I know the dangers of going by search result counts - conundrous gives by far the most results now that I tried it, but all the results are hooey (which to a smartass could very well seem the adjective of the noun hooey). :) – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 20:24

> Perplexing.

puzzling, complex, confusing, complicated, involved, hard, taxing, difficult, strange, weird, mysterious, baffling, bewildering, intricate, enigmatic, mystifying, inexplicable, thorny, paradoxical, unaccountable, knotty, labyrinthine

  • Thanks, as I finished the draft just now I considered "perplexing mere appendix of x" (as it appears as a mere mention (and an ambiguous one at that) at the end of a sentence, yet is vital to the account). – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 22:31
  • I like it, it hints at the "getting stumped reading it" aspect of it. I'm leaning towards spelling it out as the "perplexing mere appendix (and ambiguously appended at that!), x," rather than trying to find the optimal single word adjective. – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 22:40

Inscrutable is an extremely close synonym for the "difficult problem" definition.

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    That's pretty good. I looked it up. For me, it hints at impossibility, as do the two synonyms I provided. Am I wrong about that in this case? – Henrik Erlandsson Jul 20 '12 at 19:54
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    I don't think it carries implications of impossibility. An inscrutable thing can be difficult, even vexing, but not necessarily insurmountable. – Noah Jul 20 '12 at 19:58

Puzzling. A conundrum is a puzzle or difficult problem, often a riddle. The word is pseudo-Latin; it was coined at Oxford in the 1590's according to OEtD. By 1790 its meaning had evolved to more or less what it is today.

  • The carborundum conundrum is a tough nut to crack. – tchrist Jan 12 '14 at 4:53

I'm after the "difficult problem" (but not the "pun") synonymity. It's used to describe a word from an ancient text which is seemingly not in the dictionaries; hard to find information about.

IMO, obscure, arcane or esoteric might be a better fit than "conundrous".

protected by Mitch Feb 11 '16 at 15:24

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