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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Earlier in his visit, Esper seemed to allude to some potential reduction in US forces, saying that drawing down to 8,600 troops would not affect important counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan., "In a news conference Monday, the top US commander in Afghanistan, General Austin S. Miller, confirmed that the size of the US force in the country had already quietly dropped by 2,000 over the last year, down to between roughly 12,000 and 13,000.," 22 Oct. 2019 Castro also seemed to allude to speculation about Biden's mental acuity during an exchange about health care. Bill Barrow And Nicholas Riccardi,, "Here are key takeaways from the third Democratic presidential debate," 12 Sep. 2019 Castro also seemed to allude to speculation about the 76-year-old Biden's mental acuity during an exchange about health care. Fortune, "Highlights From the Third Democratic Debate," 12 Sep. 2019 While the circumstances surrounding Siddhartha’s disappearance remains a mystery, the Cafe Coffee Day founder sent a letter to employees sometime before he was reported missing that appeared to allude to mounting financial problems. Fox News, "Founder of India's largest coffee chain disappears after letter to employees: 'I fought for a long time but today I gave up'," 30 July 2019 Whilst Fekir's agent's comments do little to insist that the deal is still on, Bernes does seem to allude to an ongoing sense that a post-World Cup move could still materialise., "Liverpool Fans React as Agent of Lyon Star Nabil Fekir Hints Move Could Still be On After World Cup," 20 June 2018 Despite Trump’s tweet, several questions on the list appear to allude to possible collusion – coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials – even if collusion is not explicitly mentioned. Alana Abramson, Time, "President Trump Claimed Robert Mueller Doesn't Want to Ask Him About Collusion. That's Not True," 1 May 2018 Trump said, alluding to the 2020 race, per WH pool #copolitics — Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) December 12, 2019 To receive the rest of The Spot, the free weekly political newsletter of The Denver Post, sign up here. Cindi Andrews, The Denver Post, "Latest from impeachment hearings, and tell us the biggest Colorado politics stories," 12 Dec. 2019 Patberg said, alluding to the team's appearance in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament. Stefan Krajisnik, Indianapolis Star, "IU women's basketball heads to Florida with highest ranking in tow, tough challenges ahead," 21 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for allude

Time Traveler

The first known use of allude was circa 1531

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Statistics for allude

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Allude.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on allude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for allude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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