What is the Definition of Riddle?


The notion of a riddle can refer to a divination (predicting the future, discovering the hidden, guessing what an enigma means) or a riddle (a riddle that is proposed as a hobby).

Typically, the riddle, as a riddle, is stated in the form of a rhyme. For example: “Round, round, bottomless barrel… what is it?” (a ring), “Always still, always still: during the day, asleep; at night, you wake up ” (the stars).

According to Digopaul, riddles are usually aimed at children so that they can deduce the names of animals, fruits, objects, etc. In this sense, the riddles have an educational component beyond the playful one, which seeks the mental development of the little ones. The child, before a riddle, must be attentive to the statement, analyze it and reason to find the answer. The formulation in rhyme, meanwhile, helps the playful aspect.

Just like the sayings, the riddles are part of the popular culture of each region. A characteristic of riddles is that they are usually anonymous: they are transmitted from generation to generation, adapting to the idioms and features of each era, but always through oral communication.

By referring to elements of daily use or very present in daily life (such as utensils, food, parts of the anatomy, domestic animals or components of nature), riddles help the child’s socialization and the transmission of cultural values. There are more complex guesses for adults that may even require various mathematical calculations.

As a poetic form, riddles have held a very important place in the literary tradition of different cultures since time immemorial, especially since they give rise to transformations and adaptations, and have managed to form part of the roots of popular taste. It is a verbal game that combines lyric and ingenuity for the enjoyment of people of all ages, drawing resources from rhetoric and metrics to build a structure that is apparently simple, but enigmatic and challenging within.

The adaptation of the riddle covers the social, historical and cultural aspects of each country, of each city, to allow it to continue its mission of communicating ancestral knowledge through entertainment. It is worth mentioning that the antiquity of the riddle, although it is difficult to specify, must be counted in centuries.

The basic structure of a riddle, from a grammatical point of view, usually has its own resources of traditional popular poetry, such as the assonance or consonant cross rhyme in octosyllabic quatrains, the use of the simile, the allegory, the metonymy, the metaphor, the dilogy, the linguistic breakdown, the analogy and the parallel form, and the verses of minor art, among other elements.

Studying the etymology of the word guess, there are interesting relationships with the need that has always characterized our species to reveal the hidden, to transcend our nature to connect with the divine. To this end, humans have explored a large number of techniques, many of which include performing magic rites, chanting, and substance use.

Although the riddles have a much more innocent character than the invocation of a deceased being or a god, they are a reflection of the enjoyment that causes us to find what has been covered by the mystery, find what others have hidden from our view, to feel powerful, to savor victory even if not by overcoming a small challenge of childish aspect.

According to the study of some specialists, the riddle was born in the form of a riddle and, once it used the poetic resources mentioned above, it completed its metamorphosis to become the verbal game that we know today.