allude vs. elude

What is the difference between allude and elude?

In casual speech, the verbs allude and elude are both pronounced /əˈlud/, with their first vowels being reduced to the unstressed schwa sound. (When spoken carefully, though, elude is pronounced /ɪˈlud/.)
Allude means “to make an indirect, obscure, or oblique reference (to something or someone else).” For example:
  • “The character’s name clearly alludes to the Irish pirate Grace O’Malley.”
  • “Are you alluding to the incident that supposedly happened in the 1950s?”
  • “One reporter alluded to the campaign scandal during the press briefing, but it was quickly dropped from the discussion.”
Elude, on the other hand, means “to avoid or escape from,” as in:
  • “They eluded the police by hiding in the sewer system.”
  • “I’m sorry, but your name eludes me.”
  • “Victory eluded the team once again after a last-minute touchdown by the opposing side.”

Spelling Tricks and Tips

An easy way to choose the correct spelling is to remember that elude means escape, so it is spelled with an E. (Just also remember to only use one L.)
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