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elusive

[ih-loo-siv] /ɪˈlu sɪv/
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, elusory
[ih-loo-suh-ree, -zuh-] /ɪˈlu sə ri, -zə-/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin of elusive
1710-1720
1710-20; elus(ion) + -ive
Related forms
elusively, adverb
elusiveness, noun
nonelusive, adjective
nonelusively, adverb
nonelusiveness, noun
unelusive, adjective
unelusively, adverb
unelusiveness, noun
unelusory, adjective
Can be confused
elusive, illusory.
Synonyms
2. tricky, slippery, shifty; puzzling, baffling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for elusive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Committee will realise that this is a question with an elusive climax.

    Liberalism and the Social Problem Winston Spencer Churchill
  • Then he became more eager than ever to capture the elusive something.

    The Black Phantom Leo Edward Miller
  • It was a picture of elusive shadows, touched with warmer lights in its grays and greens.

    The Dull Miss Archinard Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • It is too subtle and too elusive to be judged by external appearances.

    A Handful of Stars Frank W. Boreham
  • The winding, unpaved roads and dark, weatherbeaten houses stirred an elusive tag-end of memory in him.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
British Dictionary definitions for elusive

elusive

/ɪˈluːsɪv/
adjective
1.
difficult to catch: an elusive thief
2.
preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
3.
difficult to remember: an elusive thought
Derived Forms
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
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Word Origin and History for elusive
adj.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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10
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