Elusive vs Abstruse - What's the difference?

elusive | abstruse |

As adjectives the difference between elusive and abstruse

is that elusive is while abstruse is (obsolete) concealed or hidden out of the way; secret .




(en adjective)
  • Evading capture, comprehension or remembrance.
  • The elusive criminal was arrested
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1910 , author=Jack London , title=Lost Face , chapter=6 citation , passage=Charley chased the elusive idea through all the nooks and crannies of his drowning consciousness.}}
  • Rarely seen.
  • *
  • Difficult to describe.
  • A precise definition of diarrhea is elusive (Robbin's pathology, 8th ed)




  • (obsolete) Concealed or hidden out of the way; secret.
  • * 1612 , Thomas Shelton (translator), Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish author), The History of the Valorous and Wittie Knight-Errant Don-Quixote of the Mancha , Part 4, Chapter 15, page 500:
  • O who is he that could carrie newes to our olde father, that thou wert but aliue, although thou wert hidden in the most abstruse dungeons of Barbarie; for his riches, my brothers and mine would fetch thee from thence.
  • * 1667 , , Paradise Lost :
  • The eternal eye whose sight discerns abstrusest thoughts.
  • Difficult to comprehend or understand; recondite; obscure; esoteric.
  • * 1548 , Bishop John Hooper, A Declaration of the Ten Holy Comaundementes of Almygthye God , Chapter 17 Curiosity, Page 218:
  • ...at the end of his cogitacions, fyndithe more abstruse , and doutfull obiections then at the beginning...
  • * 1748 , David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. ยง 13.
  • It is certain that the easy and obvious philosophy will always, with the generality of mankind, have the preference above the accurate and abstruse ;
  • * 1855 , , History of Latin Christianity :
  • Profound and abstruse topics.

    Usage notes

    * More abstruse and most abstruse are the preferred forms over abstruser and abstrusest.

    Derived terms

    * abstrusely * abstruseness