Allusive – Definition & Meaning

When we come across the word “allusive,” we might get the impression that it has something to do with allusions. But what exactly does it mean? In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of allusive, its origins, its associations, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences.


The adjective “allusive” refers to something that contains or makes use of indirect references or allusions. It can also mean that something is suggestive or evocative of something else.


The word “allusive” has its roots in the Latin word “allusivus,” which means “having reference to.” It was first recorded in the English language in the early 17th century.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, allusive means “containing or characterized by indirect references or allusions.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “having or making use of references to other works, people, etc.” Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “suggesting something without saying it directly.”


Allusive is often associated with literary works, where authors use indirect references to other works, people, or events. It can also be associated with speech, where a speaker might use allusions to make a point or emphasize a message.


Some synonyms of allusive include suggestive, evocative, indirect, implied, and referential.


Antonyms of allusive include explicit, direct, straightforward, and unambiguous.

The same root words

The root word of allusive is “allusion,” which comes from the Latin word “allusio,” meaning “a play on words” or “a reference.”

Example Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use “allusive” in a sentence:

  • The author’s writing style is allusive, with many references to other works of literature.
  • The speaker’s speech was allusive, making references to historical events and famous figures.
  • The painting was allusive, with hidden meanings and symbols that required interpretation.
  • The advertisement was allusive, using suggestive imagery to promote the product.
  • The movie was allusive, with many references to pop culture and current events.
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