al·​lude | \ ə-ˈlüd How to pronounce allude (audio) \
alluded; alluding

Definition of allude

intransitive verb

: to make indirect reference comments alluding to an earlier discussion broadly : refer

Keep scrolling for more

Usage of Allude

Allude is a word with playful roots—literally. It comes from the Latin alludere, which means "to play with," and shares the root of Latin ludere ("to play") with other English words, such as ludicrous and delude. One of the former meanings of allude was "to engage in wordplay": this sense is now long obsolete.

Although some people think that allude must always specifically entail an indirect reference, this is not the case; people have been using allude in the sense of "to refer to directly" for well over a century (as in "The Man Without a Country," the short story by Edward Everett Hale from 1863: "He never alluded so directly to his story again..."). So while allude may more commonly be used in the sense of expressing something indirectly, it is neither uncommon nor improper to use it to mean something more direct.

Allude need not always be followed by the preposition to, although that is the most common construction in modern usage.

Examples of allude in a Sentence

As alluded to previously, the entire universe may actually exist in a higher-dimensional space. — Clifford A. Pickover, Surfing Through Hyperspace, 1999 Adams had alluded to slavery in 1816, when he confided to Jefferson that "there will be greater difficulties to preserve our Union, than You and I, our Fathers Brothers Friends … have had to form it." — Joseph J. Ellis, American Heritage, May/June 1993 The more challenging problems in fact—ones that the optimists rarely allude to—will be the problems of success. — Charles R. Morris, Atlantic, October 1989 Mrs. Simons alluded to some health problems, without being specific.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That the tweet came from the man who mocked a disabled reporter, suggested that protesters be punched in the face and alluded to the assassination of his 2016 opponent only added to the irony. Jm Rieger, Washington Post, "Democrats’ civility rift is the latest intraparty problem. And they can’t agree how to resolve it.," 30 June 2018 Premier League titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06 were the start, but the Champions League still alluded them., "6 Clubs in World Football That Rose to the Next Level in the Past Decade," 9 Apr. 2018 Muslim American rappers like Mos Def (who legally changed his named to Yasiin Bey in 2011), often alluded to their faith in their lyrics. Bethany Ao,, "This Syrian American rapper is bringing politics and hip hop to Philadelphia," 3 Apr. 2018 In the five-second visual, Harry mimed a baby bump to the kids, most likely alluding to his wife Meghan Markle's pregnancy, who is due in the spring. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Had the Most Chill Reaction to a Boy Who Didn't Think He Was a "Real Prince"," 21 Mar. 2019 Getty Images Getty Images Hairstylist Adir Abergel alluded to the cult being impulsive. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Charlize Theron Just Showed Up to the Oscars With a Brand-New Haircut," 25 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, the episode also alludes to, but doesn’t exactly mention, Trump’s election. Emily Gould, The Cut, "Katja Blichfeld Gets What She Wants," 10 Jan. 2018 There was a cut [of that scene] that was a very short version, that more alludes to suicide, and then Hannah's dead. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "Another Mental Health Organization Called Out "13 Reasons Why" for Romanticizing Suicide," 21 Apr. 2017 Unsurprisingly, the cuts to early voting, the move to strip Evers of economic powers, and other changes weren’t alluded to on Walker’s chart. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Scott Walker accidentally reveals he doesn’t get Venn diagrams while downplaying GOP’s power grab," 14 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of allude

circa 1531, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for allude

Latin alludere, literally, to play with, from ad- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about allude

Statistics for allude

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allude

The first known use of allude was circa 1531

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for allude


al·​lude | \ ə-ˈlüd How to pronounce allude (audio) \
alluded; alluding

Kids Definition of allude

: to talk about or hint at without mentioning directly She only alluded to my past mistakes.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on allude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with allude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allude

Spanish Central: Translation of allude

Nglish: Translation of allude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allude for Arabic Speakers

Comments on allude

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


an act or instance of returning to life

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!