allude

verb
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

Swift has been known to wear outfits with symbols alluding to her music. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Fans Are Convinced That Her New Music Will Be About Mermaids," 3 Jan. 2019 Foley notes that there have been job advertisements alluding to such a product, and the move would seem to be consistent with the company's plan to re-engage with consumers. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft is putting together a Microsoft 365 subscription for home users," 13 Dec. 2018 Wet n Wild also alluded to the hit series through a makeup collection called Fire Dragon and Ice Dragon that was released last year. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "An Urban Decay x Game of Thrones Makeup Collection Is Coming," 22 Feb. 2019 Kenney and Philadelphia School District superintendent William R. Hite Jr. also alluded to recent Inquirer and Daily News reporting on environmental hazards in schools. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Supporters rally for gay man detained by ICE, city shares memories of LOVE | Morning Newsletter," 23 May 2018 Jamie Foxx's rep shot down rumors that the pair are engaged or married to People—the first time a rep for either of the couple had alluded to their relationship. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Literally Every Single Thing We Know About Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx's Relationship," 28 Jan. 2019 Even McConnell has alluded to concerns about Whitaker’s qualifications. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Republican group runs “protect Mueller” ad on Trump’s favorite show," 14 Nov. 2018 The musician has also alluded to his Asian heritage on social media. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Kate Hudson's Boyfriend Danny Fujikawa," 3 Oct. 2018 Giuliani also, notably, has repeatedly alluded to other things for which the money Trump repaid Cohen was used, and there's a yawning gap between the $130,000 Daniels was paid and the at least $460,000 in payments Trump made to Cohen. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "It sure sounds like other women may have gotten payoffs from Michael Cohen," 7 May 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.

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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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Statistics for allude

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allude

The first known use of allude was circa 1531

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More Definitions for allude

allude

verb
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

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

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