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a mystery to (one)

Something that is difficult to understand. Why she walked out in such a huff this morning is a mystery to me! She was acting normally before that. It was a mystery to scientists where the birds migrated to until they banded some of them and tracked their movement.
See also: mystery

a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. It is from a line used by Winston Churchill to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Many versions, variations, and appropriations of the quote, its structure, and its meaning have since been in use. Political campaigns make my head hurt. They're just a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
See also: enigma, inside, wrap

be another of life's great mysteries

To be difficult to understand or decipher. This phrase is often humorously applied to unimportant things. The living cannot truly understand death—it's another of life's great mysteries. Why dogs and cats hate each other is another of life's great mysteries.
See also: another, great, mystery, of

mystery meat

Some unappealing and unidentifiable meat or meat-like substance served as or incorporated into a meal. A: "Any guess what the mystery meat is they're serving in the cafeteria?" B: "If I had to guess, I'd say beef, but that is some gnarly looking beef if I'm right." In the military, you learn to choke down whatever mystery meat they give you without question. It's the only food you're going to get, so you may as well eat it.
See also: meat, mystery

mystery meat

n. any unidentified meat. (Collegiate.) There are no hints as to what this mystery meat is—except its strange pinkish color.
See also: meat, mystery
References in classic literature ?
It was upon the marble table that the mystery was to be enacted, as usual.
However, there is a maypole and a bonfire in the town; a mystery, Pope of the Fools, and Flemish ambassadors in the city; and, at the university, nothing!"
This crowd had been waiting since daybreak for three things: noonday, the embassy from Flanders, the mystery play.
"The mystery! the mystery!" they murmured, in hollow voices.
"The mystery, and to the devil with the Flemings!" he exclaimed at the full force of his lungs, twining like a serpent around his pillar.
"The mystery!" it repeated, "and may all the devils take Flanders!"
We had no longer any ground for hoping that we could clear up the mystery of that night.
She withdrew her arm from his grasp, and slowly departed, pausing at the door, to give one long shuddering gaze, that seemed almost to penetrate the mystery of the black veil.
Clark bent forward to reveal the mystery of so many years.
What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful?
Though the hideous noises from the inner campong rose threateningly, the imperturbable Sing left the bungalow and passed across the north campong to the little lean-to that he had built for himself against the palisade that separated the north enclosure from the court of mystery.
"All gettee out," he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the court of mystery. "Eleven devils.
Raising the bull whip above his head the young giant leaped among the advancing brutes and lay about him with mighty strokes that put to shame the comparatively feeble blows with which von Horn had been wont to deal out punishment to the poor, damned creatures of the court of mystery.
Wherefore he questioned the head, as if its dumb lips might speak to him from out of the mystery and tell him the meaning of life, and the meaning of death that inevitably laid life by the heels.
Jerry quivered at first, and in the matter of a minute struggled feebly to his feet where he stood swaying and dizzy; and thus Bashti, his eye to the crack, saw the miracle of life flow back through the channels of the inert body and stiffen the legs to upstanding, and saw consciousness, the mystery of mysteries, flood back inside the head of bone that was covered with hair, smoulder and glow in the opening eyes, and direct the lips to writhe away from the teeth and the throat to vibrate to the snarl that had been interrupted when the stick smashed him down into darkness.