elu·​sive | \ ē-ˈlü-siv How to pronounce elusive (audio) , -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


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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 But the arguments were mostly theoretical: jaguars, always elusive and magnificently camouflaged, were practically nonexistent north of the human line that demarcated the U.S. and Mexico. Eric W. Sanderson, Scientific American, 8 June 2021 While carbon capture and sequestration is proving to be both elusive and expensive, the reality is that coal and natural gas make up 58% of the U.S. electricity generation pie. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, 6 June 2021 Still, definitive answers about COVID's origins remain elusive more than a year and a half after this global public health crisis began. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 Leopards are known as notoriously elusive and solitary predators, and are most active at night. Author: Eva Dou, Lyric Li, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2021 Jack Shutty was named Team MVP, proving to be an elusive running back and a playmaker from his safety position. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, 30 Apr. 2021 With a variety of next-generation radio experiments on the way, the astrophysics community is buzzing with ideas about what the future may hold after one of nature’s most energetic and elusive messengers is finally found. Katrina Miller, Scientific American, 27 Apr. 2021 Because — as the lights going out on the Hollywood Cinerama remind us — almost everything about the movies can end up short-lived and elusive. Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2021 From ideating to pitching investors, the landscape of venture capital can feel elusive and intimidating for entrepreneurs and new founders. Reggie Yativ, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for elusive

Time Traveler

The first known use of elusive was in 1719

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Statistics for elusive

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elusive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elusive. Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for elusive



English Language Learners Definition of elusive

: hard to find or capture
: hard to understand, define, or remember


elu·​sive | \ i-ˈlü-siv How to pronounce elusive (audio) \

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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