This is the favorite pastime of the ZenSurvivor, WaifProphet, EccentricMentor, and any character with even a smidgen of knowledge on the setting's BackStory, or plots that are happening that the hero knows nothing about.

Just like a villain can't resist EvilGloating, these characters will often hold entire conversations (one sided or not) using only [[VaguenessIsComing vague]], [[RiddleMeThis cryptic]], [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom ominous]], and frequently DoubleEntendre laden terms and phrases to confuse the player and character. Why [[CannotSpitItOut don't they spill the beans quickly]] to help bring down the EvilOverlord? Well, usually the character in question either wants to [[YouAreNotReady protect]] or [[ThePlan manipulate]] the hero, other times they want to hide the truth. Of course, sometimes they ''do'' want to spill their guts but can't, due to a [[TongueTied geas]] or [[TheFettered binding oath]], and even the little they do dish out can get them in trouble. The Author of the character in question might not have mapped out that far ahead into the series, or they want to have a character that's "in the know" who won't spoil the big twist in the end. And of course, there's always doing it [[RuleOfCool just to look cool]] and mysterious regardless of reasons.

Often, these PoorCommunicationKills will only frustrate the player/hero's attempts at solving the most recent dilemma, eventually riling them (and us) enough to tell the offending {{Mentors}} to [[RageAgainstTheMentor shove your vagueness someplace painful.]] At least, unless a TranslatorBuddy is there.

This is related to how [[ProphecyTwist prophecies]] are never clear or straightforward, full of loopholes and interpretations. Creators might use these dialogues as place holders for SchrodingersGun, keeping them purposely vague enough to fit any {{Retcon}} in they need to.

'''Common set ups for this include but are not limited to:'''
* The WaifProphet, MadOracle, or another oracular type [[VaguenessIsComing uttering a prophecy]] to the main character. Questioning the oracle on its meaning [[IceCreamKoan will never help;]] they were either in a trance and don't remember what they said, were already as clear as they could be, or [[FigureItOutYourself "they are just the messenger, not the interpreter".]]
* [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Two or more plot relevant characters]] (villains or not) will speak in vague terms about the hero, his role, the progress of their schemes, etc, all while staying stylish with [[TheFaceless light-repelling rouge]].
* A mentor or erstwhile ally (or just a taunting villain) will show up [[IHaveTheHighGround on a roof]] or unreachable area, and talk literally and figuratively down to the hero about coming events.

'''Common Cryptic Conversations will have:'''

* CovertDistressCode
* DelightingInRiddles
* DoubleMeaning
* {{Doublespeak}}
* FigureItOutYourself
* {{Koan}}
** IceCreamKoan
* LovesSecrecy
* MathematiciansAnswer
* MetaphoricallyTrue
* NonAnswer
* ProphecyTwist
* ProverbialWisdom
* RiddleMeThis
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness
* {{Shout Out}}s
* SpySpeak
* TeasingFromBehindTheLanguageBarrier
* VaguenessIsComing - [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom Doom]] is upon us! Beware the beast with two backs. ''He'' will knock three times! No, not the same ''he:'' %% DOCTOR WHO FANS: Please don't change it to "knock four times", this wasn't intended to be a reference.
* YouKnowTheOne - Pronouns like "it", "them", "he", etc. Usually italicized or quoted. The cryptic conversation will rarely if ever speak using actual nouns, much less proper names.
* YouWillKnowWhatToDo
* WeWouldHaveToldYouBut

'''Common Cryptic Conversationalists will be:'''

* AloofBigBrother
* EnigmaticMinion
* MadOracle
* MagnificentBastard
* RiddlingSphinx
* TricksterMentor
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness
* WaifProphet
* ZenSurvivor

'''Compare and contrast:'''

* TroubleEntendre, wherein the sinister meaning is transparent, but not to passersby.
* TalkingThroughTechnique, where a concise conversation is held without ever saying a word.
* WordSaladHorror, when the dialogue goes from "cryptic, but still capable of being interpreted" to "ominous nonsense."


%%If you have time, please take time to put examples in alphabetical order. This page Administrivia/HowToAlphabetizeThings should help you with that.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Although not intentionally vague, about half of everything anyone said in the first season of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' was misunderstood by the other person because of their own preconceptions, usually leading to paranoia and literal PoorCommunicationKills.
* Quon from ''Anime/RahXephon'' speaks like this more often than not... the meaning of the terms she absently throw around in reference to the hero and his HumongousMecha do not become clear untill the end of the series, but along the way, others 'in the know' makes occasional use of them, creating sinister suggestions of their true importance.
* Yuki and Itsuki have one of these in the first episode of ''[[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya]]''. Predictably, [[DeadpanSnarker Kyon]] [[LampshadeHanging calls them on it.]]
* Carim Gracia of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' has the ability to magically create prophecies that turn out to be pretty vague thanks to the fact that they come in poem form, can be interpreted in many ways, and are written in the dead Ancient Belka language, adding even more ambiguities due to translation and mistranslation. Thanks to these factors, she considers them as useful as a fairly accurate horoscope.
* ''Anime/EdenOfTheEast'' is in love with this trope, and makes use of it so often that listing all the examples is simply impossible.
* There are a couple of this in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', most notably among Father and the homunculi about the so called "promised day".
** Which was pretty obviously going to be a [[spoiler:solar eclipse]] long before Brosh's younger siblings woke him up wanting to borrow his telescope...
* Used and abused extensively in both ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'' and ''Manga/{{xxxHOLiC}}'', most often delivered by Yuuko, Fai and Fei Wang. It took more than ''twenty'' volumes of hearing people referring cryptically to Fei Wang's ''"wish"'' before it was revealed what it actually was. Another dragged-out example are the constant allusions to how "Syaoran is the person closest to Watanuki".
** Even the {{Exposition}} is typically given via CrypticConversation; you need to wait a while longer (sometimes ''months'') to get more exposition to explain the cryptic parts of the last batch. Even when everything is said outright, [[MindScrew its still somewhat hard to comprehend]], giving the impression of this trope on occasion even when things are being said outright.
* Lampshaded in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' when Kurama says something akin to "Oh, I see. It must be... that." and Yusuke responds that he is going to start charging him money every time he is vague.
* Almost everything Itachi from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' has EVER said.
* ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' loves this one. Any time Touga is alone with Anthy or Akio, it's pretty much Cryptic Conversation time. Then there's the "chick" speech that Touga says every time the Student Council has one of their meetings. Then there's that time in Episode 13 where Akio is talking at Dios. And then there's the Shadow Play girls.
** I think you mean that time in episode 13 when Akio is talking to ''Anthy''. ;) Seriously, try watching that episode over with that impression -- if the dialogue isn't enough to back it up, there's also the fact that you can see her figure silhouetted in the doorway with Akio as they walk out. And then when she walks back, Utena asks her where she was.
* ''Manga/VampireKnight'' has a lot of this, usually involving Kaname.
* Justified in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': Homura refuses to explain herself because [[spoiler:she already tried, in many previous timelines. [[CassandraTruth No one believed her]], and it mostly made things worse]]. Her first chat with Madoka is a completely straight example, with Homura implying that some vague disaster will befall Madoka's friends and family if she "changes herself." But it soon becomes clear that she specifically wants her to not become a MagicalGirl, and she reveals exactly why this would be bad once Madoka is in a position to believe her.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is infamous for this, with any plot-related conversation involving Gendo or [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness SEELE]] being the greatest offenders. Incidentally, it is far from the most {{JustForFun/Egregious}} example in anime; unlike, say, ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', these conversations never resort to the cheap trick of vague pronouns or adjectives; the characters involved talk frankly about the subjects at hand... it's just that the viewers won't understand what these things ''are'' until [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt they happen]], [[MindScrew if then]].
* ''Anime/{{Gilgamesh}}'' has some of this starting in the second episode. There are several sentences that are mostly composed of ellipses ("Debt collectors...?" "The contract for me... my organs... my sister... ...") At the beginning, since you've seen some of it, you can infer the lines not said, but the same can't necessarily of the characters, and in some cases is frustrating to the viewer.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': When Inuyasha fails to master Tessaiga's new absorption power, Sesshoumaru saves him with Tenseiga. Sesshoumaru cryptically tells Inuyasha he's failing to understand the point of a sword. However, despite one-shotting the enemy by following Toutousai's cryptic advice to "grow in strength", Sesshoumaru also fails to master his own new power. [[spoiler:Inuyasha needs to learn that swords cut things, no matter what power they possess; Sesshoumaru needs to learn warriors should only fight when motivated by the strength of their compassion.]]
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': In ch. 46, [[spoiler:Reiner, Bertholt, and Ymir]] have multiple conversations right over the head of Eren (and the audience), throwing out tantalizing hints while ignoring requests to explain themselves.

* In one ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}'' strip, Peter and his girlfriend have a CrypticConversation over the phone; the last panel shows his brother Jason listening in and musing that his spying may have gotten a bit obvious.
* From ''ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey'':
-->'''Shiva:''' The master left me only one item. It is on my person.\\
'''ComicBook/BlackCanary:''' I'll give you a dollar to stop being cryptic. Please say you'll take it.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* A lot of them in ''FanFic/AeonNatumEngel'' and ''FanFic/AeonEntelechyEvangelion''. The stand-out is the conversation of two creepy girls in the prologue of the latter.
* A FortuneTeller holds one of these with Calvin's parents in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''. She chides them for being LockedOutOfTheLoop about Calvin's heroics, before claiming "they're coming". Needless to say, Calvin's parents are unnerved.
* ''[[FanFic/FriendshipIsMagicTheAdventuresOfSpike Friendship Is Magic: The Adventures of Spike]]'': Most of Spike's conversations with [[SpiritAdvisor Dreamy]] are like this. He lampshades how annoying it is.
* ''FanFic/ThePowersOfHarmony'': Prior to the various [[TheReveal reveals]], most of the conversations between the Guards and/or the Princesses play out like this, if only due to the audience having no idea what they're talking about.
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'': [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Celestia]] holds a couple of cryptic conversations with Twilight and [[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix]], confusing and irritating the heck out of them. The strongest example though comes from TheStinger in the final episode, where Celestia holds a conversation with someone else, with the viewers only hearing Celestia's words until the very end. [[spoiler:That other someone is heavily implied to be the ghost of Mia Fey, Phoenix's deceased mentor]].
-->'''Twilight:''' ''([[InnerMonologue Agh! She did it again!]] [[LampshadeHanging Why do you have to be so cryptic Princess?]])''
* During the 1000 Review special of ''FanFic/ThisBites'', Cross asks his future-self Wyvern if he's caused anything [[Fanfic/NineMinutes Nine Minutes-ish]]. Fans of the story know he's asking if he caused a BadFuture.
* In ''[[ Vacation Means Chaos]]'' Xander takes a look at Hawkeye and says six to which Hawkeye corrects him seven and mentions that Xander's a five. Steve Rogers is confused as to what they're talking about until Hawkeye says they're commenting on how many hidden weapons the other is carrying.
* Done on accident a few times in ''Fanfic/ATeachersGlory'', such as when Naruto and Sasuke have an entire conversation with sentences that consist only of a couple words like "Iajutsu" and "Eight inches". They're not attempting to be cryptic so much as they simply don't require any syntax.

* ''Film/TheMatrix'' films, a very lot, as skewered in this Maddox [[ parody]]
** The second two of Film/TheMatrix trilogy are possible subversions. It turns out that [[spoiler: The Oracle makes deliberately vague prophecies partially because she only has a limited insight into the future through predicting the choices of others, partially so she has some way to pretend to have predicted any turn of events, and partially in order to cause the other characters to carry out her prophecies.]] After all, "would [Neo] have really [broken the vase] if [the Oracle] hadn't said anything?"
* Tia Dalma from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' really loves conversing in that way.
* ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' has "Scene 24" (so called in the movie).
* ''Franchise/StarWars'', if you believe Obi-Wan Kenobi's story that Darth Vader killed Luke's father was, as he put it, "True FromACertainPointOfView."
** The Jedi in general in both the films and the EU tend to do this, but Yoda is indisputably the master, just about everything he ever says are cryptic.
* ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan''
** Kirk and Spock try to have one of these so that Spock can inform him that the ship is much less damaged than Khan had thought without letting their eavesdropping enemy know. However, the code is so ridiculously transparent that one has to assume Khan had an IdiotBall stuck in both ears not to realize.
** Kirk and Spock later mention that The Book (Starfleet regulations) specifies that they shouldn't openly discuss their plans when they think their communications were compromised. It was an incredibly obvious code to Kirk and Spock, but then it ''had'' to be for Kirk to catch on and go along with it. Khan has only been around either of them for a few hours, years in the past, and couldn't be expected to realize when they are hint-hinting at each other.
** Also relies on Spock's [[JustForPun pointed]] reference to Lt. Saavik, whom Khan has never met and only seen on the Reliant's viewscreen the one time he visually communicated with Kirk (and given Khan's obsession with revenge on Kirk, it's likely he didn't even notice her.) Saavik's penchant for quoting regulations is what Spock was referring to, something Khan had no possible way of knowing. It's actually a pretty brilliant verbal code, especially given it was [[IndyPloy entirely made up on the spot.]]
* Creator/DavidMamet movies are famous for their stylized and often cryptic dialogue. In ''Film/{{Spartan}}'', naturalistic speech is used only when the main character is speaking [[SpySpeak code phrases]].
* ''[[Film/OceansEleven Ocean's Twelve]]'':
** Humorously deconstructed in Danny and Rusty meet up with an informant, with Linus insisting on tagging along. Before the meeting, they tell Linus that the informant only discusses business in a certain code and they don't have time to teach him, so he'll just have to play along:
--->'''Informant:''' So, business?\\
'''Danny:''' Business.\\
'''Rusty:''' A doctor, who specializes in skin diseases, will dream he has fallen asleep in front of the television. Later, he will wake up in front of the television, but not remember his dream.\\
'''Informant:''' ''(speaking to Linus)'' Would you agree?\\
'''Linus:''' (''thouroughly confused'')\\
'''Danny:''' If all the animals along the equator were capable of flattery, then Thanksgiving and Halloween... would fall... on the same day.\\
'''Rusty:''' Mm.\\
'''Informant:''' Yeah.\\
'''Informant:''' When I was four years old, I watched my mother kill a spider... with a tea cozy. Years later, I realized it was not a spider -- it was my Uncle Harold.\\
'''Linus:''' ...Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars fill my dreams.\\
'''Ryan:''' (''{{facepalm}}'')\\
'''Linus:''' I am a traveler in both time and space, to be where I have been.\\
(''moments later, outside the restaurant'')\\
'''Rusty:''' [[Music/LedZeppelin Kashmir?]]\\
'''Danny:''' Is that your idea of making a contribution?\\
'''Rusty:''' We hadn't even started. We ain't even got to the terms yet.\\
'''Danny:''' We came this close to losing that.\\
'''Linus:''' Hey, I don't even understand what happened in there. What did I say?\\
'''Danny:''' You called his niece a whore.\\
'''Rusty:''' A very cheap one.\\
'''Linus:''' What?\\
'''Danny:''' She's seven.
** It isn't until much later in the movie, after Linus is rescued from prison by [[spoiler: his mother]] that he figures out that all the nonsense phrases he'd heard ''really were'' just nonsense; a Lost in Translation con that Danny and Rusty (along with the informant) played on him, partly as a practical joke, and partly because they didn't want him screwing up their negotiations.

* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''
** In ''Literature/ProvenGuilty'', it is explained that prophecies ''have'' to be deliberately vague. If a prophecy is too detailed (e.g., "Your car will be stolen Friday"), and you act on it (move your car so it's not stolen), then that creates the question of ''how did you know your car would be stolen if it wasn't'', which leads to a [[TemporalParadox paradox]], which can lead to very bad things.
** In [[TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles the RPG book]], Harry notes that the Gatekeeper always speaks like he knows more than he's letting on, and if you asked him something as simple as "What do you want on your pizza?", he'd ramble on and give you an answer that didn't make any sense until later. Then he giggles at the idea of [[TheComicallySerious the Gatekeeper]] eating pizza.
** Harry is also sometimes deliberately cryptic when talking to his allies. Not because he's trying to protect them or anything. It's just that being sneaky and cryptic and mysterious [[DelightingInRiddles is pretty much heroin for wizards]].
** The Sidhe are also like this, to the extreme. Harry has commented on several occasions that getting information out of them is like pulling teeth. Their tendency to speak in a convoluted, indirect fashion actually becomes a plot point in ''Literature/ColdDays''. [[spoiler:When Maeve actually gives straight answers, it turns out to be an indication that she has been [[BrainwashedAndCrazy corrupted]] by [[EldritchAbomination Nemesis]]... and has become capable of lying.]]
* Weber & Ringo's novel ''We Few'' has a two-page conversation consisting of mixed allusions, metaphors, indirections, and double meanings. On the surface, it's about a meat supplier trying to get a contract with the Home Fleet. The subtext is that 1) the [[RightfulKingReturns Prince]] has returned, 2) he is neither [[TookALevelInBadass the useless playboy people remember him as ]] nor the [[TheEvilPrince villain]] that the [[EvilChancellor current powers]] are painting him as, 3) the [[AristocratsAreEvil current powers]] have [[MindControl turned the Queen into their puppet]], 4) he is preparing to overthrow them, 5) he has support among some of the other fleets, 6) part of the plan involves assassinating the admiral of the Fleet, and 7) he is requesting that, once that happens, the Home Fleet support him or, at the least, stand aside.
* ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber'' begins with Corwin/Corey having conversations with his sister and brother about things ''they'' know all about, and he has no memory of... and yet he [[RefugeInAudacity still manages to make them think he's fully aware of everything and perhaps knows more than they do, and takes over control of the situation]].
* In Mad Magazine's spoof 'Doone' 'Duke Leto' rules that until the end of the crisis they will converse only in complete sentences. To the relief of his mentat who was about to call a time out to find out what they were talking about.
* Ayatani Zweil in Creator/DanAbnett's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/GauntsGhosts novels is so prone to this that Gaunt wonders why they have kept him on as chaplain.
** In the same universe, the same author also came up with Glossia in the ''Eisenhorn'' and ''Ravenor'' books, which was a coded language based entirely around metaphor. Examples phrases include "Thorn wishes aegis, rapturous beast below,"Aegis, arising, the colours of space," and "Rose thorn, abundant, by flamelight crescent." Some of it can be guessed at, the rest... not so much.
* Would you believe [[Literature/TheInheritanceCycle Eragon]] had one of these with a bird?
* Traditional Chinese courtesy requires indirection and ritual self denigration in conversation allowing for very polite and cryptic threats. A prize example is Literature/JudgeDee's various conversations with the BigBad in ''The Chinese Bell Murders''.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** Conversations between mortals of various stripes and Elves apparently tend to go like this a lot. After trying unsuccessfully to get useful information out of Gildor near the beginning of ''The Fellowship of the Ring'', Frodo tells him, "And it is also said, 'Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'" Gildor replies that Elves tend to be cryptic because they believe giving clear advice one way or the other is dangerous, and it's best for people to figure things out for themselves.
** Gandalf also loves being cryptic. {{Lampshaded}} by Aragorn at one point, saying "In one thing, you have not changed, my friend: you still speak in riddles."
* Robin Goodfellow from ''Literature/AnElegyForTheStillLiving'' loves these.
-->“I want to say that I dislike you, but I find that I cannot.”\\
“We know each other too well for dislike. There's only hate between us now.”\\
“I never saw you before today.”\\
“Aye. And how long's today, then? The lives we tell ourselves are the ones we begin to believe.”\\
“Do you mean the lies we tell ourselves? I did not lie about it.”\\
“Not you sir. No. You would never lie. Why, I can't imagine what came over me, to even suggest such a thing as that. That you would lie? Absurd.”\\
“Me what?”\\
“To be frank, I doubt I have understood any word that's come from you since we met.”\\
“Frankly, Frank, if I made any more sense I'd go mad. Then they'd call me wise.”\\
“Who would?”\\
* ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion'' has a long conversation between Cazaril and Ista that begins this way:
-->'''Cazaril:''' Do you see anything ''odd'' about me, Lady?\\
'''Ista:''' I see only with my eyes, now. I've been blind for years, you see. ''You'' see?\\
'''Cazaril:''' Yes.\\
'''Ista:''' I thought so. There is a look about one who sees with ''those'' eyes.
%% * All Immortals in ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight'' (Nyx, Kalona and, to a degree, Rephaim) are prone to a mixture of this plus FromACertainPointOfView.
* The Oracle in ''[[Literature/AnnalsOfTheWesternShore Voices]]'' gives its prophecies in odd, {{Koan}}-like fragments: short phrases like "broken mend broken" and "to keep bees from apple blossoms." Naturally, this has historically allowed the people asking the question to interpret the meaning to support the thing they already wanted to do, sometimes with disastrous results.
* In ''Literature/{{MARZENA}}'' we have Livia and Helena doing a little bit of SpySpeak and making several references to their first conversation making it also a NoodleIncident, and there's also a conversation between Lauren and Helena, where Helena attempts to SpySpeak to Dr. Lauren although the Doctor doesn't have a clue and just answer her questions straight up.
* In ''Literature/TheDinosaurLords'', the two [[spoiler:Grey Angels]] have this conversation. It's not cryptic to them, and they didn't intend it as such, being alone during the conversation, but the reader knows very little of what they know and the subject of their discussion, so all the conversation conveys to the readers is that matters are getting grim indeed.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The Hybrids in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' are the CPU of the Cylon Basestars. They all speak in surreal phrases which mix ship status reports, poetry, quasi-biblical verse, and ominous prophecy on current events. Of course, they're insane, so it's not like they have a choice in delivery. However, the eldest Hybrid was scarily lucid, and gave pretty concrete prophecy and warnings.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In "Rose", the Doctor explains why he doesn't give out a proper name thusly.
--->'''The Doctor:''' Do you know like we were saying, about the earth revolving? It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world is turning and you just can't quite believe it 'cause everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it... the turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world. And, if we let go... That's who I am. Now forget me.''
** "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" had the MadOracle Dalek Caan in this role.
--->'''Dalek Caan:''' He is coming. The threefold man... he dances in the lonely places...
* Pretty much every line in ''Series/{{Lost}}''.
** ''Lost'' ''is'' this trope.
** But no scene in ''Lost'' better demonstrates this trope than the opening of the season 5 finale, in which [[spoiler: Jacob]] and a currently unnamed man casually discuss the usage of human beings as pawns in some kind of battle of wills on the island.
* Kosh from ''Series/BabylonFive'' exemplifies this trope, except that it's frequently hard to get him into a conversation at all. Here, [[ take a read]], it's hilarious.
** What's scary? Many of them DO make sense in the end.
** It seems to be a trait of Vorlons in general. After Kosh is killed, another Vorlon ([[AllThereInTheManual named Ulkesh]]) arrives to take his place, with no one but the command staff supposed to know that this isn't the same "Kosh".
--->'''Sheridan:''' Your government neglected to tell me ''your'' name.\\
'''Ulkesh:''' Kosh.\\
'''Sheridan:''' Uh, yes, I understand that's how we're supposed to address you publicly, but privately? What should we call you?\\
'''Ulkesh:''' Kosh.\\
'''Ivanova:''' Ambassador Kosh... is ''dead''.\\
'''Ulkesh:''' We are ''all'' Kosh. ''[walks away]''\\
'''Sheridan:''' Well, he's a Vorlon, alright.\\
'''Ivanova:''' Yup.
* ''Series/{{Skins}}'': In season 2, Cassie exchanges one with her teacher during her final exam. It ends with them dancing on ''Funkytown''.
* Oma Desala in ''Series/StargateSG1''.
** Pretty much anything to do with the Ancients or other Ascended beings, as evidenced by [[spoiler:Daniel when ''he'' got ascended for a season]], to name one example.
** This appears, on some level, to be because of the "rules" of being Ascended, which includes not being able to directly interfere, which probably extends to just spitting things out.
** Lampshaded when he uses one of Oma's particularly confusing statements ("If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, then the meal was cooked a long time ago") to test a fake version of Oma taken from his memories: since he never figured out what the hell Oma was talking about, the fake Oma didn't know what it meant either.
--->'''O'Neill:''' No, I'm all for subtlety but that is downright ''encrypted''.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Angel in the first few episodes. Appears out of the darkness, says something cryptic, then disappears.
*** She lampshades it nicely, with 'you couldn't just say it's a vampire with a fork?'
** Pretty much all Whistler ever says.
* Father Mulcahy tries this strategy several times on ''Series/{{Mash}}'' in order to give another character vital information without revealing what someone told in in confession. One led to him and Klinger getting shot at while trying to retrieve penicillin stolen by the black market, and ''worse'' Klinger ripping his skirt.
* ''Series/TwinPeaks''; The owls are not what they seem.
** ''Twin Peaks'' is ''CrypticConversation: TheShow''. There have been entire books written about what a large portion of the dialogue actually means. Also this gets ramped UpToEleven in ''Twin Peaks: The Return''.
* Parodied in ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' where a generic evil genius is giving vague commands to his minions until one of them objects on the basis that it's confusing. And brings up the time they spent months actually ''hoping'' a guy would have an accident instead of [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident arranging one]].
** Yeah, here we are:
* [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Darmok, and Jalad... at Tanagra]]
** Though TNG has many examples of this (The Samaritan Snare and Rascals immediately spring to mind), Darmok might not qualify. The alien species were speaking quite plainly, it is just that they speak a different language, built around a radically different communications phenotype.
* Go ahead, have a chat with [[Series/{{Firefly}} River.]] [[CloudCuckoolander Good luck.]]
* And if you’re ever in ''Series/FraggleRock'', ask [[TricksterMentor Cantus the Minstrel]] for advice. He’ll freely give it, but you’ll have to FigureItOutYourself. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by frustrated fellow minstrel [[OnlySaneMan Murray]], and an exasperated [[ActionGirl Red Fraggle]].
* Happens annoyingly in the second season of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', when it's revealed that Agents Mack and Bobbi joined Team Coulson with a secret agenda of their own that they only talk about in vague terms. At one point, Bobbi is unsure about keeping her ex-husband Hunter out of the loop, and Mack gives her a nonsensical speech that ends in "...Maybe in the next world, we can all be friends again." Even if you [[RewatchBonus rewatch the episode]] knowing [[spoiler: Mack and Bobbi are part of secret faction within SHIELD that seeks to unseat Coulson as Director because they distrust him after he was resurrected with alien blood]], Mack's speech STILL makes no sense.
* In ''Series/Merlin2008,'' TricksterMentor Kilgarrah loves this trope, always promising Merlin that "you will discover in time, young warlock," or somesuch.

* In the song "Witch Doctor" by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., the "advice" that the witch doctor gives the man for winning the girl's heart is really just gibberish [[note]]It's "Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang", a phrase said three times in a row in the chorus of the song.[[/note]] but he apparently he sees some meaning in it, even if the listeners can't.

[[folder:Tabletop RPGs]]
* A lot of TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms sources used this.
** The best case may be [[ this]] Mintiper's tetrastich. It ostensibly speaks about the beauty of the forest, for those in the know hints at a weird magical artifact, and "mantle" as an elven type of personal magical defences in ForgottenRealms. With a straight, but obscure reference to the matter at the end. Also may be misinterpreted as a reference to ''another'' artifact and comparison with elven royals who tend to practice [[TooMuchForManToHandle High Magic]].
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', the GM may narrate this way to help keep the [=PCs=] in the dark:
-->'''PC:''' ''(in a vehicle with unlabeled controls and no manual)'' [[WhatDoesThisButtonDo I press button #5.]]\\
[[spoiler:''[The vehicle drops anchor entirely normally.]'']]\\
'''GM:''' Sounds like something big just fell off.

* In ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'', this drives [[TheStoic Kopaka]] [[NotSoStoic nuts]]. Every second character he comes across talks this way.
-->'''Kopaka:''' I swear one day a villain will give a straight answer to a straight question and when it happens I'll be so shocked I'll--\\
'''Pohatu:''' [[DeadpanSnarker Crack a smile?]]

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', [[TricksterMentor Taliesin]] talks to [[WanderingMinstrel Leon]] about the Laws of the Andain by using riddles because he feels every Andain must figure out the laws and the true meanings behind the words themselves with no outside help.
* ''WebAnimation/BrokenSaints'' can be heavy on this, particularly from the BigBad.
* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' plays this trope off of [[SpySpeak several]] [[WaifProphet others]] in the "Race" story arc.
-->'''Nathan:''' I'm down. Tell Summer 'The chickens are in the hayloft. Plan Gamma is a go.'\\
'''Jewel:''' She says '[[AttackPatternAlpha Plan Gamma]] acknowledged. The meercats are in the bag.'\\
'''Nathan:''' ...\\
'''Jewel:''' So we're good?\\
'''Nathan:''' Hard to tell with her. Do you see an actual bag of meercats?\\
'''Jewel:''' No.\\
'''Nathan:''' Then we're probably good.
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' Annie once asks [[PhysicalGod Coyote]] what the Court is, and he replies "It is man's attempt to become God." Coyote immediately [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this by asking [[TheDragon Ysengrim]] if it's a sufficiently cryptic answer, to which Ysengrim replies "Very cryptic. It barely answers anything at all." and Annie appends that it just raises more questions. Coyote of course, being TheTrickster, was going for this exactly and is delighted that it was so vague.
* {{Invoked|Trope}}, ''requested'', and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] [[ here]] in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'':
-->'''John:''' do you think that instead of telling me exactly why that is with a clear explanation, you can give me a series of really coy riddles about it and then sort of giggle?\\
'''Nannasprite:''' When you pass through the first gate, everything will change. You will find the place where the constellations dance beneath the clouds. And then your true work may begin. Hoo hoo hoo!\\
'''John:''' i suddenly understand everything!
* ''Literature/AshAndCinders'' heavily indulges in this trope. It frequently happens whenever Orym and Thavian share a scene. [[ There's even an entire chapter devoted to one of them.]]
* Blog/RainbowDashReadsHomestuck parodies this; an asker asked something with a lot of *spoilers* so Rainbow replied with *spoilers*.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Taylor has one with [[spoiler:Glaistig Uaine]], who uses the metaphor of actors in a play to drop hints about the plot.
** Tailor gets called out for doing this with a villain by one of her teammates, [[AudienceSurrogate who doesn't know what she's talking about talking about either.]]
--->'''Cuff:''' You're doing that crazy mastermind thing again.\\
'''Taylor:''' Which crazy mastermind thing?\\
'''Cuff:''' Where you talk to the other masterminds and one of you leaves something unsaid, and the other knows what that thing is without asking.
* Shortly before the main plot of ''Webcomic/{{Archipelago}}'' gets underway, DreamWeaver Paollo tries to send Credenza a warning about the BigBad and his plans. When she has no clue who or what he's talking about, he expresses his frustration with the trope:
-->'''Paollo:''' Darnit, what's the point of being omniscient when ''no one else is''?
* At the beginning of ''Webcomic/{{Godslave}}'''s chapter 2, Heru and Oziris are shown talking briefly in manner just clear enough to let us know that Oziris is aware of what's going on, but not nearly enough for us to figure out why recent events are bad news.
* {{Discussed|Trope}} in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', where Tarquin notes that the fact that his team is ''not'' speaking cryptically in regards to [[spoiler:Malack's vampirism]] means that it's highly likely that the protagonists already found out about it.
* Kor Icomb of ''Literature/SkiesUnbroken'' tends to have these with a supernatural being known as Lady Luck. Compare and contrast CosmicPlaything.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/TwelveOunceMouse is basically made of this.
* The Dungeon Master, of the ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' cartoon.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Iroh's teachings to Zuko often come in cryptic statements. When trying to figure out what Iroh would say in a situation where he wasn't present, Zuko says [[IceCreamKoan something cryptic and vaguely profound]].. and unfortunately can't understand ''that'' either.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' had [[Theatre/{{Macbeth}} the Weird Sisters]], who loved to confuse Humans and Gargoyles by talking like this.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Yeesha of VideoGame/MystV and VideoGame/{{Uru}} is the queen of this.
* The Vortigaunts from VideoGame/HalfLife2 may qualify here, although it doesn't always take a [[IncrediblyLamePun theoretical physicist]] the figure out the meaning of their word play.
* In ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'', you can carry one with a shady individual in one of the eponymous city's inn. The only way to end it is to acknowledge that you have no idea what you are talking about. The rogue expresses surprise, with a hint of respect, that you were able to fake the conversation for so long and then disappears, never to be seen again...
* Subverted hilariously in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. The PC is performing contract kills for an assassin guild. She or he corresponds with a messenger from the guild who constantly speaks in cryptic messages. By choosing the correct dialogue options and acting confused as to what the messenger means, the PC can eventually frustrate the messenger enough that he says (and I paraphrase), "Yes, yes, you kill the target, you get the reward!" Whereas before, he only alluded to it.
** Played straight with Flemeth. Practically every conversation with her has her speaking in riddles and chiding you for acting like you understand what she's truly talking about. She gets no better when dealing with Hawke in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''.
** Similarily, the [[TakenForGranite petrified]] oracle Eleni Zinovia is incredibly cryptic. In the Mage origin, Jowan dismisses the statue's prophecies as nonsense.
** [[IdiotSavant Sandal]] occasionally utters these in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. "One day, the magic will come back, all of it. Everyone will be as they once were. When ''he'' rises, all will see." [[spoiler: It doesn't appear to foreshadow anything that happens in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', but perhaps someday we'll see...]]
* Taken to truly absurd levels with the [[OmniscientCouncilofVagueness Gazel Ministry]] in ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', who spend hours upon hours discussing whether this or that character has helped or hindered their plan that they exhaust a thesaurus alluding to without actually describing.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' employs this trope several times over the course of the series, especially in regards to [[BonusBoss bonus bosses]] and secret endings that hint towards the next sequel.
** Especially where Namine erases Sora and his friends' memories of their time together with her, the only remaining evidence being a cryptic line written in Jiminy Cricket's journal "Thank Namine" and "We must return to save them from their torment". The answer to the last line becomes a major focus of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded''
** Doubly so in the [[LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition Final Mix]] versions. The fact that there's a BonusBoss known by fans as the "Enigmatic Man" should be proof enough of this.
* Used constantly in ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' by [[TricksterMentor Jubei]] and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Rachel]]. {{Lampshaded}} just as much by Ragna:
-->'''Ragna:''' I have no freaking clue what you're saying. Can you speak in human for me?
* It's more of a "cryptic monologue", but [[spoiler:Tezkhra]]'s thoughts in ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction'' often take the form of this, making vague references and trailing off before anything important is revealed.
* Ulysses of ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' speaks entirely in metaphorical terms with heavy use of symbolism in his language. For example, he tends to refer to NCR and Caesar's Legion as the Bear and the Bull, the animals depicted on their respective flags.
* The Praetorian Resistance in ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' communicates entirely in a metaphor- and symbol-ridden argot that is difficult at best to decipher. One Resistance contact with whom players may interact is so deep into their lingo that he is all but incomprehensible -- despite the fact that he's handing out mission assignments.
* The "End Poem" in ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' has two disembodied voice saying seemingly meaningless things yet feel meaningful.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI:'' Altair is always on the end of these and is clearly shown as being irritated by it. He eventually calls Al-Mualim out on this.
-->'''Altair:''' ''[very agitated]'' You speak in circles, master! You praise me for being observant then tell me not to be! What is the aim of this?!
* At the ending of ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' final boss skirts around this; laying out quite simply how all the various factions in the AlienHierarchy came to exist but being overly vague as to why they exist or why they attacked Earth in the first place. Perhaps it's a SequelHook.
* Everyone is cryptic in ''VideoGame/Persona2''. Including your own party members, who will wax introspective in minor conversations. The protagonist only avoids this by never talking.
* [[ParodiedTrope Parodied]] in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'':
-->'''Atton:''' Just so you Jedi know, the whole "cryptic routine" isn't mysterious, it's just irritating. If you really can see the future, you should be at the pazaak table.\\
'''Exile:''' But to know the future, one must know yourself.\\
'''Atton:''' What was that, some kind of joke? That's what I'm talking about. 'Jedi Talk.' You two should start your own little Jedi Academy.\\
'''Exile:''' But to teach, one must be willing to learn.\\
'''Atton:''' All right, all right! Cut it out, I get it, I get it. The last Jedi in the galaxy, I get the comedian who runs around in his underwear.
* A lot of what White Face says in ''VideoGame/{{Imscared}}'' seemingly does not make a whole lot of sense. It is coherent, but it has little to no context or provocation, such as its excessive apologizing.
* In ''VideoGame/TheDarksideDetective'', Agent [=McScream=] (the protagonist's evil double from the DarkWorld) speaks almost entirely in vaguely ominous utterances.
-->''Good conversation''\\
''Is that what this was?''