difficult to achieve


elusive = schwer fassbar, schwer definierbar --- GOOGLE INDEX elusive: approximately 33,600,000 Google hits



EU membership [is] more ELUSIVE than ever for Turkey.

(Voice of America)

It doesn't make any difference whether enterprise software is purchased or developed; project success can be ELUSIVE.

(CIO magazine)

Did you


- difficult to describe, find, achieve, or remember
(Cambridge Dictionary)

The word elusive was first recorded in the18th century. Its roots are found in the Latin term "elus-eluded" (from the verb eludere). The modern version of the verb is elude, which means to (playfully or cleverly) avoid being caught.

Should this new word remain elusive to you, try using one of these idioms the next time you are searching for a particular term. Note that they all use body parts to illustrate almost a physical attempt to find and catch the word you want!

- tip of my tongue = almost able to remember (Her name is on the tip of my tongue)

- not at hand = not available (Sorry, those figures aren't at hand just now)

- out of reach = unattainable (I'm sorry, that price is still out of reach for us)

- draw a blank = not be able to remember (His birthday is in November, but I'm drawing a blank on the day)

The word "evasive" sounds and is similar to elusive, with a slight twist. Evasive means that someone purposefully avoids giving information. (John was evasive about how much he'd earned from the sale)


hard to capture, evasive, mysterious, hidden, distant

SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"The details of how the fire started remain elusive. Our insurance is checking for possible causes."

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