elusive

adjective
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

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

But the effects remain elusive and hard to reproduce. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Long, Weird History of Strobe Weapons," 11 Feb. 2019 More elusive, though, is figuring out how much of that water is actually in liquid form. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "In Search of New Rules to Protect Other Worlds From Earth's Cooties," 2 July 2018 The wild northern bobwhite quail population in the northeast U.S. is more elusive. Frank Kummer, Philly.com, "Wild quail, nearly vanished in N.J., mount fragile comeback," 2 May 2018 At the same time, Haley proved to be a more elusive leader. chicagotribune.com, "Haley makes it clear she will accept nothing less than to be Tillerson's equal," 9 Mar. 2018 But witnesses have also offered a glimpse into something even more elusive: how a real-life drug lord manages people. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 The justice system has been something very elusive. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Rose McGowan Speaks Out on Weinstein’s Impending Arrest," 25 May 2018 The justice system has been something very elusive. Marie Claire, "Harvey Weinstein in Police Custody on Charges of Rape," 25 May 2018 One of President Donald Trump’s most contentious foreign policy projects, the inauguration of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, is set to be carried out on Monday even as peace in the Middle East seems more elusive than ever. Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Plans to Open Jerusalem Embassy Opposed Across Middle East," 13 May 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

14 Mar 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 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

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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