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elusive

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adjective elu·sive \ē-ˈlü-siv, -ˈlü-ziv\

Simple Definition of elusive

  • : hard to find or capture

  • : hard to understand, define, or remember

Full Definition of elusive

  1. :  tending to elude: as a :  tending to evade grasp or pursuit <elusive prey> b :  hard to comprehend or define c :  hard to isolate or identify

elu·sive·ly adverb
elu·sive·ness noun

Examples of elusive

  1. But for all their influence, D.C. lobbyists have failed to attain one elusive goal: public respect. —Franklin Foer, New Republic, 25 Mar. 2002

  2. In truth, the ideal of wholly disinterested scholarship—in any field of research—will probably remain an elusive one. —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times, 4 Apr. 1998

  3. His meanings have been known to be elusive, which is why he appeals to pop cryptographers. —Sarah Vowell, GQ, November 1998

  4. This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God Particle. —Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993

  5. The truth may prove elusive.

  6. <the giant squid is one of the ocean's most elusive inhabitants>



Origin of elusive

(see elusion)


First Known Use: 1719



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