A riddle is a phrase, question, or statement that provides a puzzle of words to be solved as it contains a veiled or double meaning. There are two types of riddles: an enigma, which is a riddle that carries a problem that is told in an allegorical or metaphorical manner and requires intelligent thinking and ingenuity in order to come up with the solution.
Not to be mistaken for a riddle joke, which does not carry the expectation that the person being asked the riddle knows the answer, but instead is a joke that is gearing up from a funny answer as the punch line. Riddle jokes are also known as a joke riddle, a riddle joke, a pseudo-joke, or a conundrum. Characteristics of a Riddle
Riddles generally contain either a clever question, statement, or description that is first given and then points to the solution, found either within the given description, or deduced from clever thinking and deduction. Riddles can rhyme and are used for fun and amusement. Used for humor, puns and double entendres are also characteristics found within traditional riddles. History of Riddles
Riddles date back to ancient and medieval times as forms of entertainment and amusement. Most riddles were orally passed down, however there are written accounts of riddles being used in a literary form. The first riddles documents were from Babylon, Sanskirt, and the Old Testament of the Bible. Riddles were also documented in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and the medieval world. Riddle Contests
The history of riddles also documents contests being held for riddles. These contests were a battle of wit as well as skill. Players would take turns asking one another riddles, and if a player was unable to answer the riddle correctly, they would lose. Riddle contests were portrayed in folklore and literature.
Revised September 14th, 2015
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