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To allude is to refer to something in an indirect manner. Elude usually means to escape from or avoid danger. Because “elude” and “allude” are homophones (words that sound alike), they are often confused – even by native English speakers. So, how to tell the difference between them? What is the meaning of elude, and what does allude mean? In this IELTS Grammar 101, we’ll give you some tips on telling them apart. 

  • Meaning of elude and allude 

  • Synonyms of elude and allude 

  • Use elude and allude in a sentence 

Elude vs. allude: the difference 


Is a verb: A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience. 


Is a verb: A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.

Elude vs. allude: the definitions


  • It generally means ‘to escape from or avoid a danger, an enemy, or a pursuer, typically in a skilful or cunning way. 

  • However, it can also mean ‘to avoid compliance with (a law or penalty)’ 

  • Elude can also imply an achievement which fails to be attained by someone. 


  • It generally means ‘to reference something indirectly’ or ‘to hint at’ 

  • It can also mean ‘to mention without discussing at length’ 

Elude vs. allude: the synonyms


Could also mean (synonyms): evade, avoid, get away from, dodge, flee, escape (from), run (away) from. 


The synonyms for this word include: refer to, suggest, hint at, imply, mention, touch on, mention in passing. 

Elude vs allude: in a sentence


Using elude in a sentence: As we’ve explained above, elude is defined as ‘to escape from or avoid a danger.’ You can use elude when you want to avoid something, for example: 

  • The thief eluded the authorities for months. 

  • After playing in the league 10 years, the championship still eludes them. 


How would you use allude in a sentence? Remember that allude can be defined as ‘to suggest; or indirectly call attention to something.’ 

  • In the movie, they don’t say why she is in prison, but they allude to tax evasion. 

  • Michael alluded to Rebecca but he never actually mentioned her by name. 

Reference: Cambridge Dictionary

Want to learn more about commonly confused words?

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as /led/ or /li:d/ Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth spending a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between belief or believe? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here