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 prompted Moon to allude to quitting the show in her Twitter bio in mid-May, with Bravo later disputing her exit and making a statement in support of Moon on social media. Justin Curto, Vulture, 17 Aug. 2021 But the governor did allude to her willingness to end the benefit in exchange for lawmakers increasing the amount of money unemployed residents typically receive. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, 20 July 2021 Part of the reason may be the other existential threats that the atomic scientists allude to. John Rash, Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have yet to comment publicly on the reunion that delighted the internet—but Lopez did allude to Bennifer 2.0 in a recent interview with Apple Music's Ebro Darden, as People reports. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, 16 July 2021 Wall hangings and fabrics—for curtains, door drapes, upholstery—were designed by Maison Pierre Frey to allude to styles in the Petit Trianon. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, 7 June 2021 The New Year's hat may allude to his former band B2K, which stands for Boys of the New Millennium. Rachel Yang,, 19 May 2021 The numbers, which appear like ratings, could allude to JoJo having competed on the shows Destination Stardom and America's Most Talented Kid. Rachel Yang,, 12 May 2021 There are a number of other points in Revelation where the author seems to allude to Nero. Eric M. Vanden Eykel, The Conversation, 7 Apr. 2021

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

Time Traveler for allude

Time Traveler

The first known use of allude was circa 1531

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near allude



allude to

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for allude

Last Updated

12 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on allude

Nglish: Translation of allude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allude for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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