verb al·lude \ ə-ˈlüd \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of allude

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

Examples of allude in a Sentence

  1. As alluded to previously, the entire universe may actually exist in a higher-dimensional space. —Clifford A. PickoverSurfing Through Hyperspace1999
  2. 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. EllisAmerican HeritageMay/June 1993
  3. The more challenging problems in fact—ones that the optimists rarely allude to—will be the problems of success. —Charles R. MorrisAtlanticOctober 1989
  4. Mrs. Simons alluded to some health problems, without being specific.

Recent Examples of allude from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of allude

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

ALLUDE Defined for Kids


verb al·lude \ ə-ˈlüd \

Definition of allude for Students

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

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