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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Biden administration also calls on Congress to pass data privacy legislation, an achievement that has eluded lawmakers for years despite multiple attempts. Max Zahn, ABC News, 30 Oct. 2023 Garbers completed his first eight passes while showing poise in the pocket as well as the ability to elude pressure, extending drives with several long scrambles. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2023 Though adopted in childhood, the lack of a father was something that always eluded Franklin. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 21 Oct. 2023 But the tool failed when music was added to the clip or when the audio was distorted, suggesting that misinformation peddlers could easily elude detection. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2023 On fourth-and-goal at the 1, a low center snap eluded Smith, with Granite Hills’ senior defensive lineman Travis Ford securing the loose ball, setting off a wild celebration on the Granite Hills sideline. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 Flu is a tricky, unstable virus that has eluded lasting containment since the first vaccine against it was released in 1945. Maryn McKenna, WIRED, 10 Nov. 2023 Spiro is a colorful and charming character, and his pieces—often set with rare and important stones—are designed with a modernity that eludes many other houses. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 4 Nov. 2023 And the sterile nature of code is exactly what slang—a language that lives in the thin threshold between integers—was designed to elude. Caleb Madison, The Atlantic, 28 Oct. 2023 See More

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

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 10 Dec. 2023.

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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