20 Examples of Allusion

The  allusion is a linguistic device ( rhetorical figure ) that refers to something without mentioning it directly. For example: The merchandise sold like hot cakes. (It is sold as easily as fresh bread is sold)

The allusion uses an example that serves as a reference. For the allusion to be understood, the sender must turn to the receiver’s previous knowledge: the more knowledge and lexical wealth a person has, the greater their ability to understand the allusions.

The allusions serve to illustrate the idea that the issuer wants to communicate, as with metaphor . In addition, they have an aesthetic objective: they are a tool to embellish the speech.

In an allusion, people, circumstances, things, animals, myths, works of art, etc. can be represented. For example: His love was so deep that even Romeo and Juliet would have been surprised . 

The verb “allude” is also used in formal language, as a synonym for “make reference”, “name” or “point out”. For example: In relation to economic problems, the foreign minister made reference to the international context. 

  • See also: Rhetorical figures

Allusion types

  • Literary or rhetorical allusion. It alludes to an artistic reference, counting on the knowledge of the recipient. For example: Rodolfo has always been a bit like Peter Pan . (Peter Pan is compared to the eternal child)
  • Direct allusion. The sender tries to say in other words a phrase understood by the general public. For example: Manuel was preparing for eternal sleep. (“Eternal sleep” refers to death)

Examples of direct allusion

  1. These women shopped and looked like vicious vultures when they bought those Christmas deals. (They were voracious buyers)
  2. They look like wild beasts for lack of manners. (They are rude)
  3. Juan was a Tiger in sales. (He was the best seller)
  4. It was a radiant lamp of ideas! (Had an idea)
  5. I know a girl with golden hair. (I know a blonde girl)
  6. And finally José put on the wooden suit. (José passed away)
  7. His devotion was such that he seemed like man’s best friend. (It looked like a dog)
  8. His serpentine attitude (Crawled to get something)
  9. They hang out at the salon like parrots . (They talk too much)
  10. It had turned into an amoeba. (He did not react)

Examples of literary or rhetorical allusion

  1. He was fast like Superman .
  2. Romina was meaner than Cinderella’s stepmother .
  3. The children looked like Hansel and Gretel.
  4. Julio reminded me of the hunchback of Notre Dame.
  5. She was a Goddess of Olympus.
  6. When angry, the Hulk appears .
  7. Sleeping Beauty woke up !
  8. She is the wonder woman , she cleans her room in record time.
  9. He is older than Tutankamon .
  10. Pavarotti , they told Juanita.


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