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Elusive vs. Illusive: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 28, 2024
Elusive refers to something hard to catch or achieve, while Illusive means based on illusion, not real.
Elusive vs. Illusive

Key Differences

Elusive describes something difficult to find or grasp, like a fleeting memory. Illusive, in contrast, pertains to something deceptive or based on an illusion, like a mirage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024
An elusive goal is one that is challenging to attain, constantly evading capture. An illusive appearance, however, is misleading, giving a false impression of reality.
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Elusive often implies a quality of evasiveness that is not easily pinned down or defined. Illusive suggests something that is falsely perceived or imagined, lacking real substance.
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While elusive targets the difficulty of physical or conceptual capture, illusive emphasizes the aspect of being unreal or based on false perceptions.
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Elusive can describe a person who is difficult to understand or a concept hard to articulate. Illusive is used for scenarios or images that are not what they appear to be, often tricking the mind.
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Feb 28, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Meaning

Hard to catch or define
Based on illusion, not real
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Usage

Describes difficulty in attainment
Describes deceptiveness, unreality
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Context

Often used in physical or abstract challenges
Used in context of perceptions and illusions
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Implication

Implies a challenge or complexity
Suggests falseness or deception
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Examples

Elusive prey, elusive concept
Illusive mirage, illusive dream
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Elusive and Illusive Definitions

Elusive

Hard to define or describe.
The concept of happiness can be quite elusive.
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Jan 17, 2024

Illusive

Based on illusion, not real.
The shadows created an illusive figure in the room.
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Jan 17, 2024

Elusive

Seldom seen or experienced.
The Northern Lights are an elusive spectacle.
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Jan 17, 2024

Illusive

Resembling an illusion.
The painting's depth was illusive, drawing viewers in.
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Jan 17, 2024

Elusive

Difficult to find or catch.
The elusive leopard was rarely seen by the villagers.
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Jan 17, 2024
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Illusive

Imaginary, not based on reality.
Her hope for a perfect world was illusive.
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Jan 17, 2024

Elusive

Skillfully evasive.
Her elusive answers frustrated the interviewers.
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Jan 17, 2024

Illusive

Deceptive or misleading.
The magician's trick was illusive and impressive.
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Jan 17, 2024

Elusive

Hard to remember or recall.
The details of that night were elusive to him.
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Jan 17, 2024

Illusive

Creating a false impression.
The mirage was an illusive oasis in the desert.
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Jan 17, 2024

Elusive

Tending to elude capture, perception, comprehension, or memory
"an invisible cabal of conspirators, each more elusive than the archterrorist [himself]" (David Kline).
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Illusive

Illusory.
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Elusive

Difficult to define or describe
"Failures are more finely etched in our minds than triumphs, and success is an elusive, if not mythic, goal in our demanding society" (Hugh Drummond).
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Illusive

Subject to or pertaining to an illusion, often used in the sense of an unrealistic expectation or an unreachable goal or outcome.
Testing software completely is an illusive goal.
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Elusive

Evading capture, comprehension or remembrance.
The elusive criminal was arrested
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Illusive

Deceiving by false show; deceitful; deceptive; false; illusory; unreal.
Truth from illusive falsehood to command.
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Elusive

Difficult to make precise.
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Illusive

Based on or having the nature of an illusion;
Illusive hopes of of finding a better job
Secret activities offer presidents the alluring but often illusory promise that they can achieve foreign policy goals without the bothersome debate and open decision that are staples of democracy
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Elusive

Rarely seen.
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Elusive

Tending to elude; using arts or deception to escape; adroitly escaping or evading; eluding the grasp; fallacious.
Elusive of the bridal day, she givesFond hopes to all, and all with hopes deceives.
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Elusive

Difficult to describe;
A haunting elusive odor
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Elusive

Skillful at eluding capture;
A cabal of conspirators, each more elusive than the archterrorist
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Elusive

Be difficult to detect or grasp by the mind;
His whole attitude had undergone a subtle change
A subtle difference
That elusive thing the soul
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does elusive mean?

Elusive refers to something hard to find, catch, or understand.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What is an example of something elusive?

A rare bird that is rarely seen can be described as elusive.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Can a person be described as elusive?

Yes, if they are hard to understand or difficult to find or meet.
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Feb 28, 2024

Is illusive always related to visual deception?

Primarily, but it can also refer to deceptive ideas or impressions.
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Feb 28, 2024

How is illusive different from elusive?

Illusive pertains to being based on illusion or deception, whereas elusive means difficult to catch or define.
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Feb 28, 2024

Does illusive always mean something is false?

Often, but it can also mean creating a false impression without intent to deceive.
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Feb 28, 2024

Can success be elusive?

Yes, if it's difficult to achieve or define.
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Are hallucinations considered illusive?

Yes, since they are perceptions without basis in reality.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Is 'elusive' used in a negative context?

Not necessarily; it can simply imply difficulty without a negative connotation.
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Feb 28, 2024

Can dreams be considered illusive?

Yes, if they create a sense of unreality or deception.
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Can an advertisement be illusive?

If it creates false impressions or expectations, it can be considered illusive.
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Are optical illusions illusive?

Yes, they create deceptive or misleading visual perceptions.
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Can a solution to a problem be elusive?

Yes, if it's difficult to find or formulate.
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Is the term elusive applicable to abstract concepts?

Yes, concepts like happiness or love can be described as elusive.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

What makes a goal elusive?

If it's challenging to achieve or seems to evade efforts, it's elusive.
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Feb 28, 2024

Is it correct to say 'an elusive illusion'?

Technically, yes, but it would be a rare and specific context.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 28, 2024

Is an 'illusive reality' a contradiction?

It can be seen as a paradox, indicating something that seems real but isn't.
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Feb 28, 2024

Is an illusive person deceptive?

If they give a false impression, they could be described as such.
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Feb 28, 2024

How is 'elusive' used in sports commentary?

Often to describe a player who is difficult to catch or tackle.
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Can memories be elusive?

Yes, especially if they are hard to recall accurately.
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Feb 28, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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