- The definition of an allusion is a statement that hints at something rather than being direct.
Saying to someone, "boy you look really tired, have you been getting enough sleep" instead of telling someone they look old because of wrinkles under their eyes is an example of an allusion.
allusion definition by Webster's New World
- the act of alluding
- an indirect reference; casual mention
Origin: Late Latin allusio, a playing with ; from allusus, past participle of alludere: see allude
allusion definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The act of alluding; indirect reference: Without naming names, the candidate criticized the national leaders by allusion.
- An instance of indirect reference: an allusion to classical mythology in a poem. See Usage Note at allude.
Origin: Late Latin allūsiō, allūsiōn-, a playing with, from Latin allūsus, past participle of allūdere, to play with; see allude.
allusion - Cultural Definition
An indirect reference to some piece of knowledge not actually mentioned. Allusions usually come from a body of information that the author presumes the reader will know. For example, an author who writes, “She was another Helen,” is alluding to the proverbial beauty of Helen of Troy.