Revised as of 1 July 2017
It’s an elusive concept, one that is difficult to capture as it is simply too easy to imagine a similarity between an idea that eludes or escapes with another idea that is simply an illusion of another.
For some reason, when I think of elude, I always think of the Scarlet Pimpernel, for they seek him here, they seek him there, that demned elusive Pimpernel!
As for the illusive, it’s always the ghosties for me. Sure, being illusive is a false idea or belief, a deception if you will. And I will always think first of a ghost as a representation of a person, but it will never be the flesh-and-blood man or woman, so it is illusive. A false promise of what had been.
Note: Delusive was added 30 November 2016 and is more of a purposeful lie, as opposed to the illusive which is more literary, poetic, in its lies.
Note: Allusive was added 1 July 2017 and can be quite subtle in its references to, well, anything.
You may also want to explore the post, “Allusion vs Delusion vs Illusion“.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: delusive, elusive, illusive|
|Part of Grammar:|
|[Of a remark or reference] Working by suggestion rather than explicit mention
Having reference to something implied or inferred
|Giving a false or misleading impression
Of the nature of a delusion
|Difficult to find, catch, or achieve
Difficult to remember or recall
Preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
Failing to allow for or accommodate a clear perception or complete mental grasp
Cleverly or skillfully evasive
|[Chiefly poetic, literary] Deceptive, not real|
|The jerk made some allusive references to my body.
Samuel Hesed, Geoffrey Hill, and T.S. Eliot are highly allusive poets.
I’m tired of his allusive speech. He should just say what he means.
Ms. Jones’ delicately allusive poetry causes one to feel the joy of that first glorious love.
|It was a delusive reply.
Ah, the delusive light of Venice.
He harbored a most delusive belief.
Carrying a gun can be a delusive security.
|Success only became more elusive.
‘Twas an elusive thought I’m chasing.
She was quite an elusive thief.
I simply cannot grasp so elusive a concept.
Old Joe was a fish too elusive to catch.
The no-kill shelter was hoping that elusive donors would finally contribute.
|That illusive haven where no ills lie.
It is an illusive beauty.
Marilyn Monroe had that illusive it factor.
The 2016 presidential campaign was littered with illusive inaccuracies.
|Adjective: allusory, unallusive
Adverb: allusively, unallusively
Noun: allusiveness, unallusiveness
|Adjective: delusory, nondelusive, undelusive
Adverb: delusively, undelusively
Noun: delusion, delusiveness
Verb, transitive: delude
|Adjective: elusory, nonelusive
Adverb: elusively, nonelusively
Noun: elusion, elusiveness, nonelusiveness
Verb, transitive: elude
|Adjective: illusory, nonillusive
Adverb: illusively, nonillusively
Noun: illusion, illusiveness, nonillusiveness
Verb, transitive: illude
|History of the Word:|
|Mid-16th century denoting a pun, metaphor, or parable from the French or from the late Latin allus(ion-) + -ive, from the verb alludere.||Late Middle English in the sense of act of deluding or of being deluded is from the late Latin delus(ion) + -ive, from the verb deludere.||Early 18th century from the Latin elus- meaning eluded.||Early 17h century from the medieval Latin illusivus.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits:
The original photo, “Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2010“, is by LeNair Xavier and was cropped and brightened by deerstop under the CC BY 2.0 license, “Heath Ledger” by Howie Berlin (Flickr) is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, and “Owen Wilson in Cannes 2011” by Georges Biard is under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; all three are via Wikimedia Commons. Sarcasticool’s post, “Actor Allusion: My 10 Favourite Examples!, is via Hub Pages.