il·​lu·​sive i-ˈlü-siv How to pronounce illusive (audio)
: based on or producing illusion : illusory, deceptive
… that illusive shimmer of hot surface air …Frank Norris
Some who have lain flat on the ice for a long time, looking down through the illusive medium … have seen … the undoubted source of the Styx …Henry David Thoreau
It had been like the stage gauze which gives an illusive air of reality to the painted scene behind it, yet proves it, after all, to be no more than a painted scene.Edith Wharton
illusively adverb
… he seemed to occupy his own still pocket of space, putting Rojas in mind of the lionfish that floated in the waters of the Caribbean—so illusively delicate in appearance, so serenely poisonous. Tom Clancy and Martin H. Greenberg
illusiveness noun
I was … still under the impression that no one knew I was gay. They all knew and indulged me my illusions of illusiveness. Massoud Hayoun

Examples of illusive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Horror comedy is an illusive brand of humor, lots of hits and a ton of misses. Andy Hoglund,, 29 Oct. 2023 The California native was also furious that the online profile was listed close by, given his entirely virtual relationship with the illusive Carmella. Henry Chandonnet, Peoplemag, 3 July 2023 These are songs of worry and longing, rapturous hymnals to the fortifying qualities of booze, and elegies for the illusive wisdom we’re told is supposed to come with maturation. James Robins, Vulture, 1 May 2023 Happiness can be illusive. Tracy Brower, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2023 Olympic ideals are illusive for all of us. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Feb. 2022 Getting over the hump is proving ever illusive. G Smith,, 20 Nov. 2020 This book will help readers grasp the staying power and the consequences of the idea — ingrained in generations — that American history is essentially a chronicle of progress, a saga of liberty unfolding under some illusive pattern of exceptionalism and divine design. Washington Post, 26 June 2020 Unfortunately, teleoperation can be cumbersome, and full autonomy is often illusive. Erico Guizzo, IEEE Spectrum, 22 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'illusive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of illusive was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near illusive

Cite this Entry

“Illusive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


il·​lu·​sive il-ˈü-siv How to pronounce illusive (audio)
illusively adjective

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