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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce elusive (audio)

Dictionary definition of elusive

Difficult to capture, grasp, or pin down, often due to its fleeting or evasive nature.
"The elusive criminal managed to evade capture for many months."

Detailed meaning of elusive

When we refer to something as elusive, we are highlighting the challenge of achieving a clear understanding or obtaining a tangible hold on it. Elusive elements may be hard to define, locate, or attain, and they often seem to slip away just when we think we have them within our reach. This term can apply to elusive concepts, like the meaning of a dream or the nature of time, as well as to elusive creatures or individuals that are challenging to catch or comprehend. In essence, "elusive" conveys the sense of something being tantalizingly out of reach, encouraging persistence and patience in our attempts to unravel its mysteries or capture its essence.

Example sentences containing elusive

1. The elusive butterfly flitted away before I could capture it.
2. Success in the stock market can be elusive for many investors.
3. Her dreams of fame remained elusive despite years of effort.
4. The solution to the puzzle seemed elusive, even to the experts.
5. Happiness can sometimes feel elusive in the midst of life's challenges.
6. The thief remained elusive, leaving no trace behind.

History and etymology of elusive

The adjective 'elusive' has its etymological origins in the Latin word 'elusus,' which is the past participle of 'eludere.' 'E' in Latin often signifies 'out' or 'away from,' and 'ludere' means 'to play' or 'to deceive.' Thus, 'elusive' is rooted in the idea of something that is 'playing out' or 'escaping' from one's grasp. Over time, this word has come to describe things that are difficult to capture, grasp, or pin down, often due to their fleeting or evasive nature. When we explore the etymology of 'elusive,' we find its essence as a term that embodies the concept of something slipping away or defying capture, inviting a sense of intrigue and challenge in one's pursuit to understand or apprehend it.

Quiz: Find the meaning of elusive

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Further usage examples of elusive

1. The elusive concept of time has puzzled philosophers for centuries.
2. Love can be an elusive emotion, hard to define or hold onto.
3. The treasure hunters searched for years, but the treasure remained elusive.
4. The elusive truth was buried beneath layers of deception and mystery.
5. The elusive butterfly flitted from flower to flower, making it difficult to capture in a photograph.
6. The answer to the riddle remained elusive, even after hours of contemplation.
7. The thief proved elusive, constantly evading capture by the authorities.
8. Happiness can sometimes feel elusive, slipping through our fingers when we try to grasp it.
9. The secret to a successful relationship seemed elusive to the young couple.
10. The writer struggled to find the right words, as the perfect sentence remained elusive.
11. The concept of time can be elusive, as it seems to pass by quickly or drag on endlessly.
12. The artist aimed to capture the elusive essence of beauty in their paintings.
13. The treasure hunter searched for years, but the legendary treasure remained elusive.
14. The scientist dedicated their career to studying an elusive species of deep-sea creature.
15. The meaning of life remained an elusive question that philosophers debated for centuries.
16. The scientist's groundbreaking discovery provided insight into an elusive phenomenon.
17. The entrepreneur chased after elusive success, constantly striving for greater achievements.
18. The truth behind the urban legend remained elusive, with no concrete evidence to support it.
19. The detective meticulously gathered clues, determined to solve the elusive murder case.



evasive, accessible, attainable, graspable


Irregular and Unpredictable, Middle School 5, Unclear and Uncertain

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