il·​lu·​sive | \ i-ˈlü-siv How to pronounce illusive (audio) , -ziv \

Definition of illusive

: 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

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Other Words from illusive

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 Equatorial‘s goal, along with others empowered by this emergence, is to cultivate partnerships and foster the untapped Black consumer base, which many agree is due to coffee’s illusive history and lack of marketing and diversity in the space. Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, "How the pandemic and social unrest motivated a new coalition to build an equitable foundation for the coffee industry," 28 Mar. 2021 In Church, several pews full of people are cropped into an oblique image that captures a moment in time, seizing an illusive memory. John Zotos, Dallas News, "Riley Holloway’s paintings offer a unique and personal vision of Americana," 4 Nov. 2020 Over history, people have chased the illusive goal of living longer through pills, potions, and fountains of everlasting youth. Liz Stinson, Allure, "Our Average Life Expectancy Could Increase to 115 Years Very Soon," 18 Aug. 2020 This is due to the Moon’s opposition to illusive Neptune and the Sun’s alignment to deceptive Neptune, according to Stardust. Elizabeth Gulino,, "The Full Worm Moon Signals A Time For Progress," 9 Mar. 2020 African American gestures can be quiet and illusive, or vibrant and confident. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "The Smithsonian’s Black-History Museum Will Always Be a Failure and a Success," 24 Oct. 2019 The black Plymouth hummed along the hot desert road with four good tires and much pavement to conquer, passing shepherds herding sheep towards an illusive oasis. Birmingham Magazine,, "Remember what's important during good times and bad," 19 May 2017 Years of investment manias and financial machinations that powered the job market have lost potency, exposing longstanding downsides of trade that had previously been masked by illusive prosperity. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "More Wealth, More Jobs, but Not for Everyone: What Fuels the Backlash on Trade," 28 Sep. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illusive.' 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 illusive

1606, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for illusive

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The first known use of illusive was in 1606

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Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illusive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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