Definition of elusive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ēˈlo͞osiv/


1Difficult to find, catch, or achieve: success will become ever more elusive
More example sentences
  • Pre-baiting an area that looks good is often the answer to catching one of these elusive carp.
  • He was injured last season, so we had to wait over a year before this elusive 100th was achieved!
  • He would then retreat, hoping to catch the elusive man in their new round.
difficult to find;
evasive, slippery
informal always on the move
1.1Difficult to remember or recall: the elusive thought he had had moments before
indefinable, intangible, impalpable, ambiguous



Pronunciation: /əˈlo͞osivlē/
Example sentences
  • I can understand hitting the sales with commando-like precision if you've wanted a particular item all your life while it remained elusively unaffordable - until suddenly it appears on offer with 70% off.
  • He always ducks the obvious, loud, self-aggrandizing statement in favor of the quiet, inquisitive, other-focused, elusively self-concealing statement.
  • It is deservedly a classic - a most gorgeously written, elusively elegiac, delicate evocation of a vanished way of life, and an almost vanished way of thinking and being in the world.


Pronunciation: /əˈlo͞osivnəs/
Example sentences
  • Rather than act as a detraction, the film's deliberate elusiveness is precisely what makes it boldly unique.
  • These are heady moments for readers accustomed to Fitzgerald's usual elusiveness, deflection, or silence about herself.
  • And it is that elusiveness that is not just threatening to play havoc with his reputation but leading many people in the athletics world to question openly the legitimacy of his diet.


Early 18th century: from Latin elus- 'eluded' (from the verb eludere) + -ive.

Words that rhyme with elusive

abusive, allusive, collusive, conclusive, conducive, delusive, diffusive, effusive, exclusive, illusive, inclusive, intrusive, obtrusive, preclusive, reclusive, seclusive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: e·lu·sive

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