eluding or failing to allow for or accommodate a clear perception or complete mental grasp; hard to express or define: an elusive concept.
cleverly or skillfully evasive: a fish too elusive to catch.
difficult to find: hoping that elusive donors will finally contribute.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- Also e·lu·so·ry [ih-loo-suh-ree, -zuh-]. /ɪˈlu sə ri, -zə-/.
- 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
- elusive , illusory
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use elusive in a sentence
For the most part, these mountain lions are staying elusive and sticking to eating their natural prey.
If seed rounds are becoming more elusive, maybe skip on that last hire, extend the runway, and try to gain some revenues.
This allows us to dramatically increase our digital inventory and efficiently offer this incredibly elusive audience to a whole new set of advertisers.Splitting the atom: Decoupling audience from inventory unleashes power of pubs | Trevor Grigoruk | February 9, 2021 | Digiday
They must make assumptions not only about the virus’s biology, which remains far from fully understood, but about human behavior, which can be even more slippery and elusive.The Hard Lessons of Modeling the Coronavirus Pandemic | Jordana Cepelewicz | January 28, 2021 | Quanta Magazine
However, establishing a causal relation between approaches to phonics instruction and gains in real reading has been more elusive.Is there really a ‘science of reading’ that tells us exactly how to teach kids to read? | Valerie Strauss | January 26, 2021 | Washington Post
Huckabee will also need to establish a reliable fundraising base, something that up until now has proved to be elusive.
As far as finally being acknowledged herself with that elusive Academy gold, well, Moore says she would not take it for granted.
There will be a lot of talk about “sustainable” development, but so far that has been elusive.
But the deliverance and liberation that has been longed for by Jews and Christians has proven to be an elusive thing.During Advent, Lots of Waiting, But Not Enough Hope | Gene Robinson | December 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
They are an elusive bunch, in motion or in the thrall of another time.
That suddenly altered tone had awakened an elusive memory, but neither of them could succeed in identifying it.Dope | Sax Rohmer
Its elusive light lay upon the slope, but ledge and stone seemed less distinct than their shadows, which were black as ebony.The Gold Trail | Harold Bindloss
A faintly embarrassing situation this, even for an ancestor of the elusive Pimpernel.
The look in her face was quizzical, yet there was a strange, elusive gravity in her eyes, an almost pathetic appealing.You Never Know Your Luck, Complete | Gilbert Parker
Yet the real difficulty is still before an author: it is to decide what stamp to put upon such elusive matter as ideas.English: Composition and Literature | W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
British Dictionary definitions for elusive
difficult to catch: an elusive thief
preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
difficult to remember: an elusive thought
- 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