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

Example Sentences

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 Despite its devastating social and economic consequences, the origins of the Black Death—the first wave of what became nearly a 500-year pandemic—have continued to elude researchers. Aylin Woodward, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Despite advances in modern medicine, a century after Osborne’s malady began, a lasting treatment for prolonged hiccupping continues to elude. Kellie B. Gormly, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 June 2022 With the loss, bowl eligibility continued to elude the Beavers (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12), who are trying to return to a bowl game for the first time since 2013. oregonlive, 6 Nov. 2021 The vehicle continued at a high rate of speed to elude officers, who stopped pursuit for safety reasons. cleveland, 10 Sep. 2021 Mehrhoff, a four-year veteran, was charged with two misdemeanors, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and reckless driving, along with traffic citations for disobeying a steady signal stop. William Lee, Chicago Tribune, 28 Nov. 2022 Swales pleaded not guilty in January 2021 to six charges, including reckless driving, interfering with a peace officer and two counts each of recklessly endangering another person and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. oregonlive, 18 Nov. 2022 Three Alabama high school students killed and a fourth critically injured in a crash last week were attempting to elude a police officer at the time of the wreck, state authorities said. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 16 Nov. 2022 As part of his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped two charges of second-degree abuse of a corpse and a charge of attempting to elude a police officer, as well as a separate but related case with two charges of unlawful firearm use. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 22 Mar. 2023.

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
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