allude

allude, allusion
1. To allude to someone or something is to mention them ‘indirectly or covertly’, i.e. without mentioning their name, unlike refer, which means to mention them directly, i.e. by name. So if you refer to Julius Caesar you name him, whereas if you allude to him you identify him without naming him, e.g. ‘the Roman dictator assassinated in 44 bc’. In practice, allude is often used to mean ‘refer’ (e.g.

• He had star quality, an element often alluded to in Arlene's circle of show-biz friends —Gore Vidal, 1978

• She tabled a letter alluding to fraud that caused alarm amongst her fellow councillors —AusE source, 2003 [OEC]).

2. Allusion and reference should follow the same principle, allusion involving indirect mention and reference involving direct mention by name, but again in practice the distinction blurs at the edges

• (She came across allusions to her family in the papers —Vita Sackville-West, 1931

• Midway in the questioning…he'd begun to notice the number of allusions to a particular November weekend —Truman Capote, 1966

• There were hints and allusions about his troubles to his friends —D. Halberstam, 1979

• She was…annoyed that he could make her feel so uncomfortable by his veiled allusion to last night —A. Murray, 1993.

3. Beware of confusion between allusion and illusion, which means ‘a deception or misapprehension about the true state of affairs’.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Allude — Al*lude , v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Alluded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Alluding}.] [L. alludere to play with, to allude; ad + ludere to play.] To refer to something indirectly or by suggestion; to have reference to a subject not specifically and plainly… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • allude — ► VERB (allude to) 1) hint at. 2) mention in passing. ORIGIN Latin alludere, from ludere to play …   English terms dictionary

  • Allude — Al*lude , v. t. To compare allusively; to refer (something) as applicable. [Obs.] Wither. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • allude — I verb advert, attingere, bring to mind, cite, connote, convey, designare, evince, hint, imply, import, indicate, infer, insinuate, leave an inference, make indirect reference, mention, point to, refer to, relate, significare, signify, suggest,… …   Law dictionary

  • allude to — index appertain, bear (adduce), connote, disclose, imply, indicate, mention Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • allude — (v.) 1530s, mock, from M.Fr. alluder or directly from L. alludere to play, sport, joke, jest, from ad to (see AD (Cf. ad )) + ludere to play (see LUDICROUS (Cf. ludicrous)). Meaning make an indirect reference, point in passing is from 1570s.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • allude to — (someone/something) to refer to someone or something briefly or indirectly. In his letter, Dick alluded to problems the company was facing, but he never suggested they were going out of business …   New idioms dictionary

  • allude — *refer, advert Analogous words: *suggest, imply, hint, intimate …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • allude — [v] hint at advert, bring up, imply, insinuate, intimate, point, refer, suggest; concepts 60,66 …   New thesaurus

  • allude — [ə lo͞od′, alo͞od′] vi. alluded, alluding [L alludere, to joke, jest < ad , to + ludere, to play: see LUDICROUS] to refer in a casual or indirect way (to) SYN. REFER …   English World dictionary

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