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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — allusion

Good morning, Netizens...

March 05, 2013

Word of the Day

  • allusion
  • audio pronunciation
  • \uh-LOO-zhun\


: an implied or indirect reference especially in literature; also : the use of such references
: the act of making an indirect reference to something : the act of alluding to something

The book's frequent literary allusions and high-flown turns of phrase made its narrative difficult to follow.

"Speaking with characteristic bluntness after his victory was announced, Mr. Zeman said he wanted to be the president of all the Czechs, but 'not of Godfather structures here,' an allusion to the country's problems with corruption." — From an article by Dan Bilefsky in The New York Times, January 26, 2013


"Allusion" was borrowed into English in the middle of the 16th century. It derives from the Latin verb "alludere," meaning "to refer to, to play with, or to jest," as does its cousin "allude," meaning "to make indirect reference" or "to refer." "Alludere," in turn, derives from a combination of the prefix "ad-" and "ludere" ("to play"). "Ludere" is a Latin word that English speakers have enjoyed playing with over the years; we've used it to create "collude," "delude," "elude," and "prelude," just to name a few.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



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