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

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 Becky’s got tips for cleaning those hard-to-reach places, like that elusive little strip between the stove and countertop. The Washington Post, "Chat Transcript: The Food Team answers your questions on grilling, restaurants, this week's recipes and more!," 1 July 2020 Twenty-five years had gone by since the club last won a league title and another championship felt as elusive as the unicorn. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Changing doubters to believers. How Jurgen Klopp turned Liverpool into title winners," 25 June 2020 Without such a vast data set, meaningful progress on crafting possible approaches to mining and processing deposits may prove elusive. Leonard David, Scientific American, "NASA’s Hunt for Lunar Water Intensifies," 24 June 2020 That simple pleasure has proved elusive since May, when the fireworks began in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where Astin lives. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, "Who will solve the great fireworks mystery, and will we ever sleep again?," 22 June 2020 But in its own elusive and mysterious way, the bizarre bird was equally divine. National Geographic, "How has the snow leopard survived?," 18 June 2020 True-crime connoisseurs know all about California’s elusive Golden State Killer, who is believed to have committed 13 murders and some 50 rapes in the 1970s and ’80s; that notoriety is largely due to the blogging and ad hoc sleuthing of . Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "Here are six new summer shows to watch as the TV pool begins to dry up," 18 June 2020 Swift is an elusive runner and was effective carrying the ball as well as catching it in three seasons at Georgia. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions offensive coordinator: D’Andre Swift is a ‘super talented,’ ‘complete’ RB," 17 June 2020 Even with so much more information about Secondary Infecktion's campaigns and methods, the full picture of the group's motives and goals is still elusive, though. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Russian Disinfo Operation You Never Heard About," 16 June 2020

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

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elusive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elusive. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for elusive


How to pronounce elusive (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on elusive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elusive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elusive

Spanish Central: Translation of elusive

Nglish: Translation of elusive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elusive for Arabic Speakers

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