elusive

Things that are elusive are hard to find, pin down, or remember. They slip right out of your grasp.

Ever try to catch a mouse? It's not easy, because mice are quick and elusive — they're tough to catch. Rabbits are speedy, so they're elusive too. Also, things that are tough to understand or describe are elusive — like the concepts of love and beauty. If you had an idea and then forgot it, the idea is elusive: it slipped away. Anything you can't get hold of, with your hands or with your brain, is elusive.

Definitions of elusive
  1. adjective
    skillful at eluding capture
    “"a cabal of conspirators, each more elusive than the archterrorist"- David Kline”
    Synonyms:
    artful
    marked by skill in achieving a desired end especially with cunning or craft
  2. adjective
    difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze
    “that elusive thing the soul”
    synonyms: subtle
    impalpable
    imperceptible to the senses or the mind
  3. adjective
    difficult to describe
    “a haunting elusive odor”
    Synonyms:
    unidentifiable
    impossible to identify
  4. adjective
    making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe
    synonyms: baffling, knotty, problematic, problematical, tough
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
Commonly confused words

elusive / illusive

An elusive fairy is one you can't catch, but an illusive one was never really there at all. It was just an illusion!

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