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elusive

[ih-loo-siv]
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adjective
  1. eluding or failing to allow for or accommodate a clear perception or complete mental grasp; hard to express or define: an elusive concept.
  2. cleverly or skillfully evasive: a fish too elusive to catch.
  3. difficult to find: hoping that elusive donors will finally contribute.
Also e·lu·so·ry [ih-loo-suh-ree, -zuh-] /ɪˈlu sə ri, -zə-/.

Origin of elusive

First recorded in 1710–20; elus(ion) + -ive
Related formse·lu·sive·ly, adverbe·lu·sive·ness, nounnon·e·lu·sive, adjectivenon·e·lu·sive·ly, adverbnon·e·lu·sive·ness, nounun·e·lu·sive, adjectiveun·e·lu·sive·ly, adverbun·e·lu·sive·ness, nounun·e·lu·so·ry, adjective
Can be confusedelusive illusory

Synonyms

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2. tricky, slippery, shifty; puzzling, baffling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for elusory

elusory

adjective
  1. avoiding the issue; evasiveelusory arguments
  2. difficult to grasp mentally; elusiveelusory ideas

elusive

adjective
  1. difficult to catchan elusive thief
  2. preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
  3. difficult to rememberan elusive thought
Derived Formselusively, adverbelusiveness, noun

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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for elusory

elusive

adj.

1719, from Latin elus-, past participle stem of eludere (see elude) + -ive. Related: Elusiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper