What Is a Conundrum? – Meaning & Examples

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Guess what? We’re going to explore a word that’s as mysterious as its meaning—conundrum. It sounds like something out of a Sherlock Holmes novel, doesn’t it? Well, tighten your detective hats because I’m about to explain the meaning and origin of this term and share some cool sentence examples!

What Is a Conundrum?

What Is a Conundrum Meaning Examples

A conundrum is a complex and difficult problem, a hard question, or a riddle that’s tricky to solve. It’s the kind of word you use when a problem just doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s an enigma, a mystery, a head-scratcher.

How Do You Spell Conundrum Correctly?

In your spelling bee challenges, you’ll want to remember it’s spelled C-O-N-U-N-D-R-U-M. No hidden letters, no silent vowels, just a straightforward, nine-letter brain teaser. The way I’ve always remembered it is with the visual of a nun plus a drum co-exiting. I know it sounds crazy, but just picture it, and you get co-nun-drum!

How to Pronounce Conundrum

Now that you’ve nailed the spelling, how about the pronunciation? Say it with me: kuh-none-drum, with the stress on the second syllable.

Conundrum Etymology and Origin

Conundrum Ngram
Conundrum usage trend.

Here’s a real conundrum: the word’s exact origin is a mystery in itself. It first showed up in the late 16th century, primarily used by Oxford students in a humorous, nonsensical sense. But some people speculate that it might derive from the pseudo-Latin conandrum, which means riddle. Oh, the irony!

Can a Person Be a Conundrum?

Yes, indeed, a person can definitely be a conundrum! If someone seems to be puzzling, hard to understand or a complete mystery to you, then you can describe them as a conundrum.

So, if you ever feel like you can’t quite figure someone out, feel free to call them your personal conundrum—just maybe not to their face.

Conundrum Synonyms

If you’re seeking variety in your language, here are a few extra words you can use in place of a conundrum.

  • Puzzle
  • Enigma
  • Mystery
  • Riddle
  • Dilemma
  • Quandary

Conundrum Examples in a Sentence

What Is a Conundrum Meaning Examples 1

Nothing to decipher here! I’ve just got some quick sentence examples to show you how you can use the word conundrum.

  • The detectives faced a conundrum when all their leads on the murder went cold.
  • Lisa is such a conundrum, don’t you think? One minute she’s shy; the next, she’s the life of the party.
  • The sudden disappearance of the manuscript from her computer presented a real conundrum for the author.
  • Solving the conundrum of sustainable energy is probably one of the big challenges of our existence and will be for several years more.
  • Parenting is always going to be a practical conundrum because every kid is different, and no guidebook can tell you how to do everything right.

Riddle Me This

That’s all, folks! My breakdown of the word conundrum comes to an end, but hopefully, your quest to expand your vocabulary doesn’t! Be sure to read and study my other helpful grammar guides and unravel the conundrums of other English words and phrases!