allude

verb
al·​lude | \ ə-ˈlüd \
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

There's also a baby play gym in the bottom corner, alluding to Middleton's two-month-old son Arthur. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pippa Middleton Poses for a Festive Post-Baby Photo Shoot," 20 Dec. 2018 Or, as Whitaker once alluded in a tweet, the attorney general could decide not to release Mueller’s findings to the public. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.," 7 Nov. 2018 But as Wilkinson may have alluded to in her interview with the Post, businesses need customers to thrive — and alienating a certain group could make that more difficult. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "Why Businesses Can Deny You Service for Some Reasons — And Not Others," 25 June 2018 That has not yet happened in Russia, as Cherchesov’s comments alluded to. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Russia Has Set the World Cup Table. Will Russians Embrace the Party?," 14 June 2018 Trump said during a forum in Ames, Iowa, alluding to the more than five years that McCain spent as a POW during the Vietnam war. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "President Obama Shares a Moving Tribute to John McCain," 26 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, decor saved from the hotel’s previous life, such as lamps alluding to hexagonal paper lanterns, will adorn the interior. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Tokyo’s iconic Hotel Okura to reopen in 2019 after renovations," 13 July 2018 Coates and his team made several architectural changes in the space in this film, some of which allude to Christian’s troubled childhood. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "That Time I Designed... Christian Grey's Penthouse For "Fifty Shades Darker"," 10 Feb. 2017 If that's the case, Pete has already broken it, both by referencing it in a recent stand-up routine and alluding to it in a new SNL promo. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson Reportedly Cut an SNL Sketch He Wrote About Ariana Grande," 2 Nov. 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

3 Jan 2019

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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 \
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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