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

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 Lynne, 66, appeared to allude to her daughter's legal situation on Friday with an Instagram story that featured a Bible verse about freedom. Rachel Desantis,, 12 Nov. 2021 Green's tweets possibly allude to him being fined $50,000 by the NBA on Aug. 9, 2020 for tampering in his comments about Booker during TNT's coverage of the NBA Bubble in Orlando. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 4 Nov. 2021 This seems to minimize the matter and merely allude to the aspect that the self-driving cars are legally driving and that’s what they are trained to do. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 17 Oct. 2021 This set of pop cultural associations is one that some JEDI initiatives and advocates explicitly allude to. J. W. Hammond, Scientific American, 22 Sep. 2021 In another post last week, Britney Spears seemed to allude to her younger sister’s decision to publish a memoir. NBC News, 29 June 2021 The terms community and immunity also allude across the entire name, reports Fierce Pharma. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Aug. 2021 Still, White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to allude to Trump-era tensions on Monday. Katie Bo Williams, CNN, 27 July 2021 That prompted Moon to allude to quitting the show in her Twitter bio in mid-May, with Bravo later disputing her exit and making a statement in support of Moon on social media. Justin Curto, Vulture, 17 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near allude



allude to

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Statistics for allude

Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Allude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on allude

Nglish: Translation of allude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of allude for Arabic Speakers


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