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

After so long in development, Brawl Stars is primed to join that elusive club, but with a completely different style of game that has the potential to reach a whole new audience. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Supercell’s new game mixes Fortnite and Clash Royale, and it’s out soon," 14 Nov. 2018 This elusive, possibly fictitious animal goes by a number of different names—Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, Yayali—and for centuries, people across North America have had sightings. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Science Meets Legend: The Story of Our Search for Bigfoot," 8 Oct. 2018 Finally, the most elusive and most difficult for those with hooded lids... 3. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "3 Ways I Mastered Eye Shadow for My Hooded Eyes," 28 Sep. 2018 Then there’s Taylor McFerrin, the elusive, elastic vocalist, beat boxer and synth player (oh, and Bobby McFerrin’s son) who has existed under the radar since his 2014 solo LP, Early Riser. Molly Eichel, Philly.com, "Album reviews: SOPHIE, Dierks Bentley, R + R = Now," 12 July 2018 Solutions have been elusive to date, even in a progressive state like Washington. Jonel Aleccia, The Seattle Times, "State laws ban surprise medical bills. A Washington woman got one for $227,000 — and fought back.," 30 Mar. 2019 But profit has been elusive, with the company reporting net losses in all but two year years since 2010, according to FactSet and the company’s latest results. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "Zillow, in Leadership Shuffle, Brings Back Former CEO," 21 Feb. 2019 Black holes are almost impossible to see directly, so that would explain why dark matter has remained so elusive for so long. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Rule Out Hawking Theory for Source of Dark Matter," 4 Apr. 2019 The evidence that does exist on multitasking and memory, for instance, suggests a negative correlation, but a causal link is still elusive. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Is our constant use of digital technologies affecting our brain health? We asked 11 experts.," 29 Nov. 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

6 Jun 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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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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