Difference Between Allude and Elude

Main Difference – Allude vs Elude

Even though allude and elude are not homophones, many people confuse these two verbs. They are also relatively similar in their spelling. Despite these similarities in sound and spelling, they have distinctly different meanings. Allude means to make an indirect suggestion. Elude means to escape or evade something or someone. This disparity in meaning is the main difference between allude and elude.

Allude – Meaning and Usage

Allude comes from the Latin alluder meaning to suggest or hint at. Allude means to make an indirect reference to something. It has the meaning to suggest or indirectly call attention to something. The following examples will clarify the meaning of allude.

The writer alludes to Shakespeare’s work in his novel.

The judge alluded to his previous crimes.

Her speech alludes to the remarks made by the president.

She alluded to James, but never mentioned his name.

This idiom alludes to the power of nature.

He made a remake alluding to the way she was dressed.

The teacher specifically alluded to our project.

His novel alludes to the caste system existent in the 19th century.

Note that the verb allude is always followed by the preposition ‘to’. This is an intransitive verb. It is also important to notice that the literary device allusion (brief reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance in a literary work) stems from the verb allude.

Main Difference - Allude vs Elude

This painting alludes to the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’.

Elude – Meaning and Usage

Elude comes from the Latin eludere meaning to delude or baffle. The verb elude has two meanings. Elude can mean to escape or evade something or someone. At the same time, it can also refer to the failure to achieve or attain something.  The simple meaning of this verb is to escape, either physically or mentally. Elude is a transitive verb and therefore not followed by any prepositions. Given below are some sentences which are constructed using the verb elude.

Meaning 1: Evade or escape

The thief eluded the police cleverly.

The convict escaped from the police and eluded the police for several days.

He tried to elude the punishment by hiding under the bed.

They eluded the storm by taking refuge in a small cabin.

Meaning 2:  to fail to be understood or grasp something

The underlying meaning of the poem eluded my understanding.

His philosophical way of thinking eluded us.

The new theory introduced by our boss eludes even the wisest among us.

Advanced principals of chemistry elude the understanding of most humans.

Difference Between Allude and Elude

She eluded the punishment by hiding.

Difference Between Allude and Elude

Number of Meanings

Allude has only one meaning.

Elude has two meanings.


Allude means to suggest or indirectly call attention to something.

Elude means to escape something/someone or to fail to achieve or attain something. 


Allude is always followed by the preposition ‘to’.

Elude is not followed by any prepositions.


Allude is an intransitive verb.

Elude is a transitive verb.Difference Between Allude and Elude - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Hide” By Loveteamin – Own work,  via 

” A virgin” By Abbott Handerson Thayer – from Smithsonian page (Public Domain)

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