eluded; eluding

transitive verb

: to avoid adroitly : evade
the mice eluded the traps
managed to elude capture
: to escape the perception, understanding, or grasp of
subtlety simply eludes them
victory continued to elude us
: defy sense 2
it eludes explanation
Choose the Right Synonym for elude

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something.

escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent.

nothing escapes her sharp eyes

avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty.

try to avoid past errors

evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding.

evaded the question by changing the subject

elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes.

what she sees in him eludes me

shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence.

you have shunned your responsibilities

eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful.

a playwright who eschews melodrama

Examples of elude in a Sentence

The killer was able to elude the police. The killer has eluded capture. The cause of the disease continues to elude researchers.
Recent Examples on the Web Image There were starters of cheeseburger sliders, prepared with a precision that eludes most home cooks, firecracker shrimp and bowls of tortilla soup. Alan Blinder Doug Mills, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 Tisch has committed her department to implementing these changes, along with other improvements that have eluded previous sanitation commissioners. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for elude 

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

Word History


Latin eludere, from e- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of elude was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near elude

Cite this Entry

“Elude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elude. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


eluded; eluding
: to avoid or escape by being quick, skillful, or tricky
: to escape the understanding or grasp of
the explanation eludes me

More from Merriam-Webster on elude

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!