al·​lu·​sive ə-ˈlü-siv How to pronounce allusive (audio)
: characterized by or containing allusion : making implied or indirect references
Both men employ a densely allusive prose, richly embedded with the fruit of their reading, and both use language as a tool by which to explore and define themselves.Michiko Kakutani
One way that Cuarón avoids solipsism is to keep his own most consequential experiences to the story's margins—his parents' split is portrayed obliquely, through allusive moments and eavesdropped conversations.Ann Hornaday
allusively adverb
He speaks so rapidly and so allusively that listening to a lecture by him is an exhausting as well as an enriching experience. Gertrude Himmelfarb
allusiveness noun
Ballet can't convey historical detail; its power is in allusiveness, in imagery, in suggesting states of mind and emotion that words cannot capture. Roslyn Sulcas

Examples of allusive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their plots were complex, nested, allusive, the sort of TV that demanded activity and attention rather than passivity. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 24 Aug. 2023 Style often allowed a filmmaker to set a mood in an allusive way. Hazlitt, 9 Aug. 2023 Aside from the text on that bottle, O’Brien’s work is allusive and indirect. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 21 July 2023 But by choosing literalness over ambiguity, ‘The Boogeyman’ doesn’t quite stick the landing like that richly allusive 2014 Australian film did. Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2023 Gathering forty or fifty images—portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, interior views—in a loose, allusive sequence has become the default position of most contemporary storytelling photographers. Vince Aletti, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2022 The script, written by Angus MacLane (who makes his feature directing debut here) and Jason Headley, tosses off a few gently mind-bending twists, but otherwise rests comfortably within an accessible, highly allusive branch of family-friendly science fiction. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 The term is appropriately open-ended, since the participants devise pieces that are minimalist and mysteriously allusive. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 In sharply detailed yet allusive abstractions, Hall turns the Harlem of the nineteen-twenties into a stage of grand philosophical tragedy. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'allusive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of allusive was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near allusive

Cite this Entry

“Allusive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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