elusive

play
adjective elu·sive \ē-ˈlü-siv, -ˈlü-ziv\

Definition of elusive

  1. :  tending to elude: such asa :  tending to evade grasp or pursuit elusive preyb :  hard to comprehend or definec :  hard to isolate or identify

elusively

adverb

elusiveness

noun

Examples of elusive in a Sentence

  1. But for all their influence, D.C. lobbyists have failed to attain one elusive goal: public respect. —Franklin Foer, New Republic, 25 Mar. 2002

  2. 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

  3. His meanings have been known to be elusive, which is why he appeals to pop cryptographers. —Sarah Vowell, GQ, November 1998

  4. 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

  5. The truth may prove elusive.

  6. the giant squid is one of the ocean's most elusive inhabitants

Recent Examples of elusive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of elusive

see elusion


ELUSIVE Defined for English Language Learners

elusive

play
adjective

Definition of elusive for English Language Learners

  • : hard to find or capture

  • : hard to understand, define, or remember


ELUSIVE Defined for Kids

elusive

play
adjective elu·sive \i-ˈlü-siv\

Definition of elusive for Students

  1. 1 :  hard to find or capture elusive treasure an elusive thief

  2. 2 :  hard to understand or define an elusive idea



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to bring about or cause (something)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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