Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 1, 2020 is:
allusion uh-LOO-zhun noun
1 : an implied or indirect reference especially in literature; also : the use of such references
2 : the act of making an indirect reference to something : the act of alluding to something
“The learning by rote and the endeavours to remember the complex prosodic structures of Shakespearean verses also stretch the muscles of the mind. The speeches are all dramatic, full of emotional appeal and inclusive of several allusions to Greco-Roman mythology. One thinks of these allusions and wonders about their meanings or metaphoric resonances.” — Sophie Barry, Business World, 17 June 2020
“Other than a bunch of cryptic allusions to a masterplan scattered throughout the season, her plan was never made clear. It didn’t help that she seemed to vacillate between cold-blooded killer and teary-eyed sentimentalist several times an episode.” — Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone, 3 May 2020
Did you know?
Allusion was borrowed into English in the 16th century. It derives from the Latin verb alludere, meaning “to play with,” “to jest,” or “to refer to,” as does its cousin allude, meaning “to make indirect reference” or “to refer.” Alludere, in turn, derives from a combination of the prefix ad- (“to or toward”) and ludere (“to play”). Ludere is a Latin word that English speakers have enjoyed playing with over the years, creating collude, delude, elude, and prelude, just to name a few.