eluded; eluding

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

The killer was able to elude the police. The killer has eluded capture. The cause of the disease continues to elude researchers.
Recent Examples on the Web Messi’s quest to win the one major title to elude him got off to a shocking start and brought back memories of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over an Argentina team led by Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup. Steve Douglas, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Nov. 2022 The specials of Braunohler and Braunger benefit from not only clearly being aware of the pitfalls of parenting comedy, but also actively crafting strategies to elude them. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2022 Gray was transported to Piedmont Newnan Hospital for an evaluation before being moved to Coweta County Jail on charges of theft by taking and fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 3 Nov. 2022 Navarre was charged with third-degree domestic violence, attempting to elude a police officer and three counts of reckless endangerment. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 13 Oct. 2022 Kelley, who is 6 feet, two inches tall, has a long criminal record dating back more than 20 years ago, when she was convicted of fourth-degree assault and attempting to elude a police officer in Marion County. oregonlive, 5 Oct. 2022 Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Friday the motive for the rampage continues to elude investigators. Jason Hanna And Hollie Silverman, CNN, 27 Mar. 2021 Fittingly, Fields scored the first touchdown of the game, cutting sharply to elude Myles Bryant and charge in from 3-yards out for a 10-0 Bears lead in the first quarter. Chad Finn, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Oct. 2022 The confidence radiating from both performances keeps Topdog/Underdog, a play with a winking eagerness to elude meaning, light, electric and most of all funny. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of elude was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near elude

Cite this Entry

“Elude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elude. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

eluded; eluding
: to avoid or escape by being quick, skillful, or tricky
: to escape the understanding or grasp of
the explanation eludes me

More from Merriam-Webster on elude

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