Allude and Elude

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between allude and elude?

Allude means to refer to indirectly.
Elude means to avoid or to evade.
allude or elude difference

Allude and Elude

The verbs allude and elude sound very similar, and this is why they are sometimes confused.


To allude means to refer to indirectly. The verbs to allude and to mention are close in meaning, but to allude is less direct. It can be translated as to hint at or to offer an indication about.

  • This Chinese saying alludes to nature's power: "A spark can start a fire that burns the entire prairie."
  • (The saying does not mention nature's power, but it offers a clue about nature's power. The saying alludes to nature's power.)
  • "Forewarned is forearmed" alludes to the importance of being in control.
  • (offers an indication about the importance of being in control)

  • The judge did not mention his previous crimes specifically, but he alluded to them in his summary.
  • (hinted at previous crimes)


To elude means to avoid, to evade, or to escape from.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid try to elude capture.
  • (try to avoid capture)
  • Peter Beardsley used to allude defenders with his trademark foot shuffle.
  • (avoid defenders / should be elude)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are verbs? List of easily confused words