elicit and illicit - the difference
 
To elicit means to draw out or to obtain (usually information).
Illicit means illegal.
 

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The words elicit and illicit sound similar, but their meanings are very different.

Elicit

Generally, the verb elicit means to obtain. However, it has the connotation of actively obtaining something (usually information). It can often be translated as to draw out, to extract, to obtain information, to deduce, or to construe.

Examples:

Fog always seems to elicit strong feelings of melancholy.

His questioning sought to elicit the conclusion he had reached even before the hearing began.

Illicit

The adjective illicit means illegal or contrary to accepted morality (i.e., naughty)

Examples:

The act seeks to prevent the illicit trafficking of narcotics.

We have been told to expect a purge on illicit file-sharing web sites.
 
Select the correct version:

 
 

 
ELICIT = EXTRACT 

The first letter of elicit can serve to remind you that it means extract.

ILLICIT = ILLEGAL

The first three letters of illicit can serve to remind you that it means illegal.
 

See also:

What are nouns?
What are verbs?
List of easily confused words




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