[ ih-loo-siv ]
See synonyms for: elusiveelusiveness on Thesaurus.com

  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.

  1. difficult to find: hoping that elusive donors will finally contribute.

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Origin of elusive

First recorded in 1710–20; elus(ion) + -ive
  • Also e·lu·so·ry [ih-loo-suh-ree, -zuh-]. /ɪˈlu sə ri, -zə-/.

Other words for elusive

Other words from elusive

  • e·lu·sive·ly, adverb
  • e·lu·sive·ness, noun
  • non·e·lu·sive, adjective
  • non·e·lu·sive·ly, adverb
  • non·e·lu·sive·ness, noun
  • un·e·lu·sive, adjective
  • un·e·lu·sive·ly, adverb
  • un·e·lu·sive·ness, noun
  • un·e·lu·so·ry, adjective

Words that may be confused with elusive

Words Nearby elusive

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use elusive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for elusive


/ (ɪˈluːsɪv) /

  1. difficult to catch: an elusive thief

  2. preferring or living in solitude and anonymity

  1. difficult to remember: an elusive thought


Derived forms of elusive

  • elusively, adverb
  • elusiveness, noun

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