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

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 This comes one month after fans thought Pompeo alluded to her exit from the show in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Ellen Pompeo Just Dropped a Huge Hint About the Future of 'Grey’s Anatomy'," 24 Oct. 2018 Shiru’s logo is made entirely of circles and represents cultural exchange or connections of students and companies, which also alludes to fate or destiny. Fox News, "Students ‘pay’ for coffee with personal data," 4 Oct. 2018 Buffon's move to the French capital has been put down to his hopes of lifting the Champions League next season - the only trophy alluding his impressive collection, which includes a World Cup and nine Serie A titles., "VIDEO: Gianluigi Buffon Issues Heartfelt Goodbye as Juventus Legend Signs on PSG Dotted Line," 7 July 2018 Levesque also said no one was injured in the fight, although the warrant alludes to a student who suffered a bloody nose, one who vomited during a fight and a third showed signs of emotional trauma. Christine Dempsey,, "Criminal Charge Weighed For Failure To Report Montville High 'Fight Clubs'," 14 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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Statistics for allude

Last Updated

5 Dec 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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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

Comments on allude

What made you want to look up allude? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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