verb \ ē-ˈlüd \
Updated on: 30 Jan 2018

Definition of elude

eluded; eluding
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 4
  • it eludes explanation

Examples of elude in a Sentence

  1. The killer was able to elude the police.

  2. The killer has eluded capture.

  3. The cause of the disease continues to elude researchers.

Recent Examples of elude from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of elude

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

elude Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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

ELUDE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of elude for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

ELUDE Defined for Kids


verb \ i-ˈlüd \

Definition of elude for Students

eluded; eluding
: to avoid or escape by being quick, skillful, or tricky

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