Allude vs elude

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Allude and elude are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables allude and elude, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Allude means to refer to something indirectly or to call attention to something briefly. For instance, a newspaper story may allude to an incident that had happened previously without going into a detailed explanation. The assumption is that the reader is already familiar with the incident being alluded to. Allude is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are alludes, alluded, alluding, allusion. The word allude is derived from the Latin word alludere, which means to play or jest.

Elude means to avoid, evade, or escape. Elude may also to explain something evading one’s grasp. For instance, the answer to a test question may elude a student; an escaped prisoner may elude capture. Elude is also a transitive verb; related words eludes, eluded, eluding. The word elude is derived from the Latin word elludere, which means to escape or frustrate someone or to win while playing.


The comparison came after Reid said she was beyond offended that Cruz, who she said was a part of the ‘Jim Crow party,’ would allude to the voting right bill as a ‘Jim Crow 2.0’  (Daily Mail)

“The Coventry blue and bicycle spokes allude to the history of the city.” (Coventry Observer)

An Irving man was sentenced Tuesday to a decade in federal prison for helping his fugitive father elude capture for more than a dozen years in the alleged murders of his two teenage daughters, federal authorities said. (Dallas Morning News)

Officials say the Patterson “accelerated the vehicle in an attempt to elude law enforcement,” and a brief chase ended when she lost control of the car, ran off the road and flipped. (Rock Hill Herald)