Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Now the east has always been noted for its wisdom, so he questioned these men with riddles.

With him, and with the dead city, the riddles of antiquity are cleared up.

Boy, I tell you, I've written nothing—I know nothing; you speak in riddles.

Ah, she was a riddle; but then, all other women are riddles.

These riddles he asked of her face a hundred times, lying awake in the dark.

You speak in riddles, Glinski; I comprehend nothing of all this.

So, day after day, he riddles the bedlam about him with his broadsides, in the hourly hope of victory.

“I make neither head nor tail of your riddles,” I told him impatiently.

After these rhymes there come a number of riddles, of which the answers are given.

On the Riddles, or Devinettes, chapters might be, and have been written.


"A word game or joke, comprising a question or statement couched in deliberately puzzling terms, propounded for solving by the hearer/reader using clues embedded within that wording" [Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore], early 13c., from Old English rædels "riddle; counsel; conjecture; imagination; discussion," common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian riedsal "riddle," Old Saxon radisli, Middle Dutch raetsel, Dutch raadsel, Old High German radisle, German Rätsel "riddle").

The first element is from Proto-Germanic *redaz-, from PIE *re-dh-, from PIE *re(1)- "to reason, count" (cf. Old English rædan "to advise, counsel, read, guess;" see read (v.)). The ending is Old English noun suffix -els, the -s of which later was mistaken for a plural affix and stripped off. Meaning "anything which puzzles or perplexes" is from late 14c.