From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmysterymys‧te‧ry1 /ˈmɪstəri/ ●●●W3 noun (plural mysteries)1[countable usually singular]MYSTERIOUS an event, situation etc that people do not understand or cannot explain because they do not know enough about itTwenty years after the event, his death remains a mystery.The way her mind worked was always a mystery to him.‘Why did he do it?’ ‘I don’t know. It’s a complete mystery.’The police never solved the mystery of Gray’s disappearance.But why would anyone want to kill Jack? The mystery deepened.What happened to the paintings after that is an unsolved mystery.I don’t know how he got the job – it’s one of life’s little mysteries.How life began on Earth is one of the great mysteries of science.2[uncountable]MYSTERIOUS the quality that something or someone has when they seem strange, secret, or difficult to understand or explainHer dark glasses gave her an air of mystery.Annie knew that there was some mystery surrounding her birth.be shrouded/veiled in mysteryThe circumstances of his death were veiled in mystery.3[countable usually plural] a subject, activity etc that is very complicated, secret, or difficult to understand, and that people want to learn aboutthe mysteries of somethinghis introduction to the mysteries of the perfume business4[countable] (also murder mystery) a story, film, or play about a murder, in which you are not told who the murderer is until the endan Agatha Christie mysteryCOLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: an event, situation etc that people do not understand or cannot explain because they do not know enough about itverbsbe a mysteryIt’s a mystery how he got my phone number.remain a mysteryWhat caused the accident remains a mystery.solve/unravel a mystery (=find out what happened)The children were given the clues and had to try to solve the mystery.the mystery deepens (=it becomes more difficult to understand)Why would he run away if he were not guilty? The mystery deepens.the mystery surrounding somethingResearch has unravelled much of the mystery surrounding the ageing process.adjectivesa complete/total mysteryShe said that her husband’s disappearance was a complete mystery.an unsolved mysteryWhat happened to her is still an unsolved mystery.a great mystery (=a big and important mystery)It is one of the great mysteries of science.a little/minor mysteryIt was a minor mystery how the file had survived the fire.a big mysteryIf they are right, they have solved one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy.phrasessomething is one of life’s (little) mysteries (=it is something that you will never understand – used humorously)Where socks disappear to after they’ve been washed is one of life’s little mysteries.
COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: the quality that something or someone has when they seem strange, secret, or difficult to understand or explainverbsbe shrouded/veiled in mystery (=be unable to be explained)The origins of this tradition remain shrouded in mystery.mystery surrounds something (=something cannot be explained)Mystery has always surrounded the purpose of the great stone circle of Stonehenge.adjectivesdeep mystery (=big and important mystery)the deep mystery of the human mindgreat mysteryWe wondered about the great mystery of death.phrasesan element of mystery (=part of something that seems mysterious)There is an element of mystery and miracle in the process.an air of mystery (=something that seems mysterious)There was an air of mystery about him.a sense of mystery (=a feeling that something is mysterious)The garden had hidden corners that gave it a sense of mystery.