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

Khloé might be alluding to a pretty famous episode of KUWTK in which Kim Kardashian, Khloé, and Jonathan Cheban all gang up on Kourtney to go back to work, a mere two months after giving birth to Penelope Disick., "Khloé Kardashian Is A Ball Of Nerves As Her Maternity Leave Comes To A Close," 6 July 2018 Drake is alluding to, got into a pretty public spat with the rapper about ghost writers and beat usage sometime around 2014. Natalie Maher, Billboard, "Drake's 9 Best Call-Outs on 'Scorpion'," 29 June 2018 Arbiter is alluding to the blush pink dress Meghan wore to Trooping the Colour in early June. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "No, Meghan Markle Isn't Breaking Royal Protocol," 17 June 2018 While Adolf Hitler alluded to mass genocide as far back as 1922, the Nazis initially looked into expelling all the Jews from Europe. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Jeff Sessions Defends Family Separation With False Claim About Nazis’ Treatment of Jews," 19 June 2018 Renteria’s words came after Hahn also alluded to an umpiring issue involving Moncada during the last road trip. David Haugh,, "Rick Renteria's gripe only makes it tougher for Yoan Moncada," 13 June 2018 QAnon is something that Barr has alluded to and promoted before, right after her revival premiered. The Washington Post,, "A brief history of Roseanne Barr's online hate," 30 May 2018 The five-course menu features dishes that allude to Moko Hirayama’s Japanese-French pastry work and Omar Koretiem’s Lebanese heritage, and is available for $50. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week," 7 May 2018 Peckham wrote, alluding to the potential referral of the deal to the CMA on national security grounds. Alex Morales,, "Melrose’s Success in GKN Takeover May Lie With U.K. Defense Boss," 1 Apr. 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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Phrases Related to allude

allude to

Statistics for allude

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for allude

The first known use of allude was circa 1531

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More Definitions for allude


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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