\ ē-ˈlüd \
eluded; eluding

Definition of elude 

transitive verb

1 : to avoid adroitly : evade the mice eluded the traps managed to elude capture
2 : to escape the perception, understanding, or grasp of subtlety simply eludes them victory continued to elude us
3 : defy sense 2 it eludes explanation

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for elude

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something. escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent. nothing escapes her sharp eyes avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty. try to avoid past errors evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding. evaded the question by changing the subject elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes. what she sees in him eludes me shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence. you have shunned your responsibilities eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful. a playwright who eschews melodrama

Examples of elude in a Sentence

The killer was able to elude the police. The killer has eluded capture. The cause of the disease continues to elude researchers.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The Orioles swept two games from the New York Mets earlier this month, and their longest winning streak of the season was four in a row in May. But a three-game sweep has eluded them. 2. Josh Land, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles on deck: What to watch Sunday at Braves, plus lineups, broadcast info and more," 24 June 2018 Deputies said the car was spotted headed north on State Road 417 but eluded deputies. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Gunman carjacks Corvette in Lake Nona, Orange deputies say," 22 June 2018 Fourteen years have passed since the Gunners' undefeated Premier League season -- the club haven't won the title since -- and European glory has also eluded them. Bianca Britton, CNN, "Robert Pirès says Arsenal's 'Invincibles' was better than '98 World Cup winners," 5 June 2018 Sometime after the call, Terrell repeatedly stabbed King in the neck with a large knife, according to Wednesday’s documents, which charge Terrell’s mother and 17-year-old brother with allegedly helping him elude police. Washington Post, "DA: Police didn’t respond to Milwaukee murder suspect’s call," 23 May 2018 In the fourth inning, Gray's command eluded him, a familiar refrain during his abysmal April. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Charlie Morton dominant in Astros' win over Yankees," 1 May 2018 For nearly as long, we have been forced to accept that the whole truth will elude us — always. Jenna Russell, BostonGlobe.com, "How much of ‘Chappaquiddick’ is actually true?," 4 Apr. 2018 At the time of Silva’s arrest Thursday, no one else had been charged in helping him elude authorities, Schroeder said. Barbara Boyer, Philly.com, "South Jersey prison escapee captured in Orlando after 23 years on the run," 13 Mar. 2018 On the other hand, our picks beat the S&P 500 slightly—a distinction that eludes most professional fund managers most of the time. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Who Won Heard on the Street’s Stock-Picking Contest? No One, Really," 24 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of elude

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for elude

Latin eludere, from e- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elude

Statistics for elude

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elude

The first known use of elude was in 1667

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elude



English Language Learners Definition of elude

: to avoid or escape (someone or something) by being quick, skillful, or clever

: to fail to be understood or remembered by (someone)

: to fail to be achieved by (someone)


\ i-ˈlüd \
eluded; eluding

Kids Definition of elude

: to avoid or escape by being quick, skillful, or tricky

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on elude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elude

Spanish Central: Translation of elude

Nglish: Translation of elude for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elude for Arabic Speakers

Comments on elude

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


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!