Elude means to evade or escape from. Allude means to make indirect reference. For example, if say, “I’d love to visit New Orleans, but preferably not in early September,” you might infer that I’m alluding to Hurricane Katrina, which took place in early September.
Similar distinctions apply to these words’ derivatives. Elusion and allusion are sometimes confused, and illusion is in the mix as well.
Just for fun, let’s look at two examples of allude and elude used in place of each other:
Wright is barely able to allude the tag of Cervelli as he somehow slides in safely headfirst. [NJ.com]
Seeming to elude to the canceled tour, Brown wrote “U ever feel like the storm clouds are too thick for any sunshine to get through?” on Twitter Tuesday. [Examiner.com]
These writers use allude correctly:
The dark-haired woman in “Plumb,” clothed in a faceted, crosshatch pattern that seems to allude to Jasper Johns, has a sleek, black nose that resembles carved marble. [NYT]
The promo has previously been slammed after it appeared to allude to the abusive relationship Rihanna had with her former boyfriend, Chris Brown. [New Zealand Herald]
And these writers use elude well:
After all, he had to elude hundreds of zombie-like creatures who relentlessly pursued his character and five other survivors, who ended up taking refuge together in an old house. [My San Antonio]
Second Wimbledon title to elude Maria Sharapova [bettor.com]