Also found in: Thesaurus.


 (ĭ-lo͞o′sĭv, -zĭv)
1. Tending to elude capture, perception, comprehension, or memory: "an invisible cabal of conspirators, each more elusive than the archterrorist [himself]" (David Kline).
2. Difficult to define or describe: "Failures are more finely etched in our minds than triumphs, and success is an elusive, if not mythic, goal in our demanding society" (Hugh Drummond).

[From Latin ēlūsus, past participle of ēlūdere, to elude; see elude.]

e·lu′sive·ly adv.
e·lu′sive·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ɪˈluːsɪvlɪ] ADV to behave elusivelycomportarse de manera esquiva
... he said elusively... dijo, esquivo, ... dijo, mostrándose esquivo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


adv (+adj) → auf undefinierbare Art; (+vb) → undefinierbar; answerausweichend
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
He was a man not merely religious, but devout; a firm believer--not as the phrase is now elusively construed by theological thimble-riggers in the Church and out of it, but in the old and ardent sense of the Evangelical school: one who could
Then came a little valley overgrown with the pale purple bloom of thistles and elusively haunted with their perfume.
I was endeavouring to gather the loose ends of many thoughts and memories which flitted elusively through my tired and overwrought brain.
Yet did it quiver under the finger-tip caress in rhythmic vibrations that became whisperings and rustlings and mutterings of sound--but of sound so different; so elusively thin that it was shimmeringly sibilant; so mellow that it was maddening sweet, piping like an elfin horn, which last was just what Bassett decided would be like a peal from some bell of the gods reaching earthward from across space.
For these two men had SEEN her, while to me she was only being "presented," elusively, in vanishing words, in the shifting tones of an unfamiliar voice.
Zog fails pretty much across the board and Madame Dragon's gold stars remain elusively out of reach.
To India's literary-minded he also featured in 2018's Latitudes of Longing, Shubhangi Swarup's novel in which the Earth's geological nature is also a character: in it, an Indian scientist working in the Himalayan glaciers hallucinates (or is it hallucination?) about a yellow-eyed Yeti wandering about elusively on the ice outside.
Did that oneness with the Father God seem elusively difficult to re-capture?
And to go even further beyond, to the elusively hidden Double O arch, requires nerves of steel as you shimmy over a monumentally steep stone 'fin'.
And to go even farther beyond, to the elusively hidden Double O arch, requires nerves of steel as you shimmy over a monumentally steep stone "fin".
Perhaps this has to do with its position as a frontier--at the crossroads of South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia--where it is elusively difficult to chart exactly what is happening.
Thus, we have elusively experience ourselves as independent, separated from the living network.