elusive

adjective
elu·​sive | \ ē-ˈlü-siv, -ˈlü-ziv\

Definition of elusive

: tending to elude: such as
a : tending to evade grasp or pursuit elusive prey
b : hard to comprehend or define
c : hard to isolate or identify

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Other Words from elusive

elusively adverb
elusiveness noun

Synonyms for elusive

Synonyms

evasive, fugitive, slippery

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Examples of elusive in a Sentence

But for all their influence, D.C. lobbyists have failed to attain one elusive goal: public respect. — Franklin Foer, New Republic, 25 Mar. 2002 In truth, the ideal of wholly disinterested scholarship—in any field of research—will probably remain an elusive one. — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times, 4 Apr. 1998 His meanings have been known to be elusive, which is why he appeals to pop cryptographers. — Sarah Vowell, GQ, November 1998 This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God Particle. — Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993 The truth may prove elusive. the giant squid is one of the ocean's most elusive inhabitants
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Recent Examples on the Web

As Xi gets into his sixth year of presidency and China’s internet regulator grows more centralized, acts like these feel more elusive and fleeting. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "2018 was the year Chinese internet users evaded censorship — briefly," 20 Dec. 2018 Of course, as many have tried, the word, its sensibilities, and its proxies have remained elusive and difficult to pin down. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The Town That Camp Built," 12 July 2018 But none involved an arsenal or a nuclear-fuel cycle as lethal, big or elusive as North Korea’s. The Economist, "North Korea presents nuclear disarmament’s biggest challenge yet," 5 July 2018 The film itself remains at once elusive and vital, a slice of life and time remembered, set outside Paris in 1972. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Backed by Dylan and Roxy Music, a French master's 'Cold Water' revisits where his heart was in '72," 8 June 2018 Even after decades of sustained research, no one knows how many of these big and extremely elusive cats remain. Adam Popescu, Washington Post, "Tracking one of the world’s most elusive cats," 19 May 2018 Many marine animals are large, rare, elusive and highly mobile. Smithsonian, "Scientists Have a New Way of Knowing How Many Sharks Are in the Sea," 4 May 2018 What the Ravens don’t necessarily have at the position is an explosive and elusive back who could become a major threat in the passing game. Jeff Zrebiec, baltimoresun.com, "Guice's predraft visit doesn't mean Ravens consider RB a top need, but it doesn't hurt to look," 30 Mar. 2018 Such mental etherea are still far too elusive to deal with computationally, and so, as a substitute, fast and sophisticated statistical word-clustering algorithms are used. Douglas Hofstadter, The Atlantic, "The Shallowness of Google Translate," 30 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of elusive

1719, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for elusive

see elusion

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Learn More about elusive

Dictionary Entries near elusive

Elul

Eluru

elusion

elusive

elusory

elute

elutriate

Statistics for elusive

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elusive

The first known use of elusive was in 1719

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More Definitions for elusive

elusive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of elusive

: hard to find or capture

: hard to understand, define, or remember

elusive

adjective
elu·​sive | \ i-ˈlü-siv \

Kids Definition of elusive

1 : hard to find or capture elusive treasure an elusive thief
2 : hard to understand or define an elusive idea

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More from Merriam-Webster on elusive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elusive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elusive

Spanish Central: Translation of elusive

Nglish: Translation of elusive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elusive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on elusive

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