Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

allusion

play
noun al·lu·sion \ə-ˈlü-zhən\

Simple Definition of allusion

  • : a statement that refers to something without mentioning it directly

Full Definition of allusion

  1. 1 :  an implied or indirect reference especially in literature; also :  the use of such references

  2. 2 :  the act of making an indirect reference to something :  the act of alluding to something

al·lu·sive play \-ˈlü-siv, -ziv\ adjective
al·lu·sive·ly adverb
al·lu·sive·ness noun

Examples of allusion

  1. There are lots of literary echoes and allusions in the novel, but they don't do anything for the tired texture of the prose. —Tony Tanner, New York Times Book Review, 6 Apr. 1997

  2. So while the former engineering professor with an IQ reportedly tipping 180 enjoys bombarding his staff with math wizardry, scientific jargon and computerese, he also drops frequent allusions to his baseball card and stamp collections … —Maureen Dowd, New York Times Magazine, 16 Sept. 1990

  3. To my ear this is a beautiful reenactment of the prose of the antebellum South, with its careful grammar, its stately cadences, and its classical allusions and quotations. —Cleanth Brooks, The Language of the American South, 1985

  4. The lyrics contain biblical allusions.

  5. She made allusion to her first marriage.



Origin of allusion

Late Latin allusion-, allusio, from Latin alludere (see allude)


First Known Use: 1612

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up allusion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift pince-nez kittly-benders duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ