[ ih-loo-siv ]
/ ɪˈlu sɪv /


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.
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 forms

Can be confused

elusive illusory
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elusive

British Dictionary definitions for elusive


/ (ɪˈluːsɪv) /


difficult to catchan elusive thief
preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
difficult to rememberan elusive thought

Derived Forms

elusively, adverbelusiveness, 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