Allude vs. Elude

To allude to something means to make an indirect reference to it.

Example:

In questioning whether the construction project was “to be or not to be,” the facilities manager alluded to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

To elude something means to get away from or escape.

Example:

I can picture her face and hear her voice in my head, but her name eludes me.

The respective nouns formed from these two verbs, allusion and elusion, are confused with each other and with illusion and elution.

Allusion means an oblique reference to something.

Example:

The facilities manager’s allusion to Shakespeare was only appreciated by the technical writer, as she was the only one who chuckled.

Elusion means an evasion or clever escape.

Example:

Every evening after supper my son comes up with a brand new method of elusion to avoid having to walk the dog.

An illusion is a misleading or deceptive image or idea, a hallucination.

Example:

The new hire, who just graduated from college, is under the illusion that he will advance to management within a year.

Elution is something that goes on in a chemistry lab. An adsorbed material is eluted from the adsorbent by means of a solvent.

Example:

The elution of the heavy oil from the whole core sample with methylene chloride is going to take several weeks.
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Profound Quote of the Day:
“If you want something, it will elude you. If you do not want something, you will get ten of it in the mail.”

– Anna Quindlen, American journalist, b. 1953

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