Definition of allusive in US English:



  • (of a remark or reference) working by suggestion rather than explicit mention.

    ‘allusive references to the body’
    • ‘As well as Joyce there was TS Eliot, whose densely allusive poem The Waste Land prompted such perplexity that the poet felt prompted to provide his own notes.’
    • ‘As an essayist, he conveys similar purpose, putting across his thoughts in a lively, questioning, allusive and often self-deprecatory way.’
    • ‘Both make allusive abstract forms that can suggest seedpods, cells or constellations, and both work in a generous scale with a sensitive touch.’
    • ‘But it's a perfect example of the strange and allusive poetry he brings to even the most conventional of subjects, such as his portrait of an archer, which seems to be both more and less than a portrait.’
    • ‘Again and commonly, physical beauty enjoys a symbolic and allusive function in these Anglo-Saxon texts.’
    • ‘Designer Susan Benson imparts the allusive quality of a Japanese watercolour, and Michael Whitfield beautifully recreates changing natural light.’
    • ‘In opening with an anonymous voice, only later identified, we are immediately plunged into the allusive narrative style which characterises this novel.’
    • ‘Above all, they are gestures by which the poet and the reader may together, through a sequence of allusive suggestions and corresponding recognitions, infuse the written text with breath.’
    • ‘Findlay is sympathetic to the self-referential and allusive nature of the play, Shakespeare's most mature comedy, and makes no attempt at realism.’
    • ‘Wizon's titles are evocative and allusive, and it is only via their suggestions that one can begin to read the touches of color in terms of imagery.’
    • ‘Approaching the texts in a suggestive and allusive manner, they draw on their own poetic experience to elucidate the texts.’
    • ‘In some ways the poem is the closest thing he would write to the method and manner of Eliot, with its mysterious, fragmentary dialogue and allusive range.’
    • ‘It is a misfortune that the text of the history of Ammianus Marcellinus, which introduces this episode, is defective, and that only allusive back references survive.’
    • ‘Mangold's curled figure proves a curiously allusive and vulnerable emblem as it unfurls across one, two or three panels, nearing but never quite touching the edges of the support.’
    • ‘Phillips likes to write allusive portraits peppered with images he can wrap his warm, grainy voice around, like the slowly-rolling Far End of the Night or the feistier Calamity Jane.’
    • ‘Chopin's Preludes return independence to the hands in order to display a new kind of allusive dialogue between them.’
    • ‘He is able to construct space through the juxtaposition of colors and to play with allusive reference.’
    • ‘Mr. Bellow's prose is energetic and torrential; his voice learned and allusive.’
    • ‘A fair portion of contemporary poetry over-relies on self-reflexive irony, tonal detachment, and an often irritating allusive erudition.’
    • ‘Trying too hard to be symbolic and trendily allusive, it collapses under the weight of its ambitions.’
    figurative, representative, illustrative, emblematic, allegorical, parabolic, non-literal, denotative, connotative, suggestive, mnemonic
    View synonyms