1. eluding or failing to allow for or accommodate a clear perception or complete mental grasp; hard to express or define: an elusive concept.
  2. cleverly or skillfully evasive: a fish too elusive to catch.
  3. difficult to find: hoping that elusive donors will finally contribute.


  1. difficult to catchan elusive thief
  2. preferring or living in solitude and anonymity
  3. difficult to rememberan elusive thought

1719, from Latin elus-, past participle stem of eludere (see elude) + -ive. Related: Elusiveness.

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