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noun al·lu·sion \ə-ˈlü-zhən\

Simple Definition of allusion

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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

allusive play \-ˈlü-siv, -ziv\ adjective
allusively adverb
allusiveness noun

Examples of allusion in a sentence

  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.

Did You Know?

Allusion was borrowed into English in the middle of the 16th century. It derives from the Latin verb alludere, meaning "to refer to, to play with, or to jest," as does its cousin allude, meaning "to make indirect reference" or "to refer." "Alludere," in turn, derives from a combination of the prefix ad- and ludere ("to play"). "Ludere" is a Latin word that English speakers have enjoyed playing with over the years; we've used it to create "collude," "delude," "elude," and "prelude," just to name a few.

Origin of allusion

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

First Known Use: 1612

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ALLUSION Defined for Kids


noun al·lu·sion \ə-ˈlü-zhən\

Definition of allusion for Students

  1. :  a statement that refers to something without mentioning it directly

Seen and Heard

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marked by grandiloquent style

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