allusion

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.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • allusion — [ a(l)lyzjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1558; « jeu de mots » 1674; bas lat. allusio ♦ Manière d éveiller l idée d une personne ou d une chose sans en faire expressément mention; parole, écrit utilisant ce procédé. ⇒ insinuation, sous entendu. Une allusion claire …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • allusion — ALLUSION. s. f. (On pron. les L.) Figure de Rhétorique, par laquelle on fait sentir la convenance, le rapport que des choses ou des personnes ont l une avec l autre. Allusion ingénieuse. Allusion forcée. Allusion froide et insipide. Allusion… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • allusion — ALLUSION. s. f. Maniere d expression où il y a un jeu sur des mots qui ont de la ressemblance. Ingenieuse, plaisante allusion. les allusions frequentes sur les mots ne sont pas du bon goust. Allusion, Se dit aussi de certains mots par lesquels on …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Allusion — Al*lu sion, n. [L. allusio, fr. alludere to allude: cf. F. allusion.] 1. A figurative or symbolical reference. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. A reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication; indirect… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • allusion — (n.) 1540s, from L. allusionem (nom. allusio) a playing with, a reference to, noun of action from pp. stem of alludere (see ALLUDE (Cf. allude)). An allusion is never an outright or explicit mention of the person or thing the speaker seems to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Allusĭon — (v. lat.), Anspielung, Hindeutung auf einen Gegenstand, dessen Vorstellung man mittelst einer, mit dieser in näherem Zusammenhang stehenden erweckt. Hauptsächlich kommt die bildliche A. oft vor in einer allgemeineren Vorstellung durch einen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Allusion — (lat.), Anspielung …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Allusion — (lat.), Anspielung, Hindeutung …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Allusion — Allusion, s. Anspielung …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Allusion — Allusion, Anspielung, Vergleichung einer Person mit einer historischen Person …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • allusion — index attribution, connotation, hint, implication (inference), indication, inference, innuendo, insinu …   Law dictionary

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