• WordNet 3.6
    • adj elusive skillful at eluding capture "a cabal of conspirators, each more elusive than the archterrorist"- David Kline"
    • adj elusive making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe "a baffling problem","I faced the knotty problem of what to have for breakfast","a problematic situation at home"
    • adj elusive difficult to describe "a haunting elusive odor"
    • adj elusive difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze "his whole attitude had undergone a subtle change","a subtle difference","that elusive thing the soul"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Elusive Tending to elude; using arts or deception to escape; adroitly escaping or evading; eluding the grasp; fallacious. "Elusive of the bridal day, she gives
      Fond hopes to all, and all with hopes deceives."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • elusive Eluding, or having a tendency to elude; hard to grasp or confine; slippery.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Elusive practising elusion: deceptive
    • ***


  • Lao-Tzu
    “It is the Vague and Elusive. Meet it and you will not see its head. Follow it and you will not see its back.”
  • Denise Tanner
    Denise Tanner
    “Beyond the reach of common man; is that one elusive thing...Trust!”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. eludĕre, elusume, out, ludĕre, to play.


In literature:

And numerous competent microscopists of various nations have since searched in vain for this elusive germ.
"The Making of Arguments" by J. H. Gardiner
A sweet and delicate odour was abroad, an odour elusive yet pungent, an aroma of the open.
"The Rules of the Game" by Stewart Edward White
The sexual instinct in women is much more elusive.
"Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 (of 6)" by Havelock Ellis
When the cars came up we set off again in pursuit of the elusive gold convoy.
"War in the Garden of Eden" by Kermit Roosevelt
You must also be elusive.
"Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 101. Sep. 12, 1891" by Various
They were come, this strange, wise, elusive people, to her marriage.
"Romance Island" by Zona Gale
And he saw the chance he had not taken like a flash of far, elusive sunlight on the sky-line of a troubled sea.
"The Lamp in the Desert" by Ethel M. Dell
It is as though he painted some of his men and women upon air: they are elusive for all we know of their mental and spiritual processes.
"The Art of Letters" by Robert Lynd
She was elusive as a flame.
"Rosa Mundi and Other Stories" by Ethel M. Dell
For a long time he groped with stiffening fingers for the elusive gold, which seemed to avoid him.
"The Downfall" by Emile Zola

In poetry:

Your qualities are sentient things,
Elusive and alive;
Virtues, but still the lotus needs
Low nature's mud, to thrive.
"Immortal Eve - IV" by Manmohan Ghose
And your children will inherit
The unrest of the wind,
They shall seek some face elusive,
And some land they never find.
"The Wind on the Hills" by Dora Sigerson Shorter
Elusive gossamer, impervious
Even to the mighty sun-god's keen red shafts!
With what a jealous art
Thy secret thou dost guard!
"Fog" by Emma Lazarus
Sun is elusive, passing on too fleet
Wings these winter days. Before I get
The time to warm my heart and feet...
The sun has set.
"Winter Sun" by Edith Mirick
O presence, like the primrose's,
Again I feel your power!
With rainy scents of dim roses,
Like some elusive flower,
Who led me for an hour!
"Deep In The Forest" by Madison Julius Cawein
ALL the flight of thoughts here, shy, bold, scared, intrusive,
Fluttering in the sun, between the green and blue,
Wheeling, whirling, poising, lovely and elusive,
How to cage the flying thoughts, my winged delight, for you?
"The Poet To His Love" by Edith Nesbit

In news:

Human-powered helicopter: Toronto engineers aiming to win elusive Sikorsky flight prize.
Honorable but self-indulgent attempt to bring alive the elusive French philosopher-activist-leftist Simone Weil , meshed this with the filmmaker's personal family history.
Sleuthing an elusive candidate on election night.
The elusive snakehead fish in Burnaby Central Park lagoon was finally caught Friday after previous attempts failed to capture the invasive critter.
Elusive snakehead fish finally caught after Burnaby Central Park lagoon partially drained (with video).
Saving Dominican forest and an elusive songbird .
Saving Dominican forest and an elusive songbird.
I welcome your input and insights in regards to the ever elusive world of dating.
The mysteries of the sea are as elusive as the moon to most people.
Ultrafast bursts of lightning — elusive sprites — caught on film.
Based electronic composers Andy Stott and Demdike Stare drop by KEXP for a dark, entrancing live set alternating between moody sample-atmospheres and sputtering, elusive rhythms.
In 1947, Robert Porter Allen, ornithologist and Audubon member, searched for the elusive nesting area of the dwindling whooping crane population in the Canadian wilderness.
Marco Tempest gets paid for being elusive.
Seattle allowed Adrian Peterson to rush for a season-high 182 yards on 17 carries, but bottled up the elusive runner in the second half and held on for a 30-20 victory Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Mount seniors in search of elusive 11th national crown.

In science:

In fact, we would like to point out that the genuine q -analogue X (q) of the k-face numbers of the complex ∆s(Φ) is quite elusive, as discussed below.
The Cyclic Sieving Phenomenon for Faces of Generalized Cluster Complexes
Ballis tic deposition models typically try to mimic columnar growth that occur in many natural systems and have been studied extensively in the past with a variety of microscopic rules [55, 56], though an exact calculation of the height distribution remained elusive in any of these microscopic models.
Random Matrices, the Ulam Problem, Directed Polymers & Growth Models, and Sequence Matching
Thus, despite tremendous analytical and numerical efforts, exact solution of the random LCS problem has, so far, remained elusive.
Random Matrices, the Ulam Problem, Directed Polymers & Growth Models, and Sequence Matching
Despite the multiple applications neutrinos had in Particle Physics through these years, we still know very little about these elusive particles.
Study of accelerator neutrino interactions in a liquid argon TPC
In spite of the youth suggested by many stars in M8, direct evidence of YSOs going through the accretion phase remained elusive.
Geysers in the Lagoon: new Herbig-Haro objects in M8