An allusion is when a person or author makes an indirect reference in speech, text, or song to an event or figure. Often the allusions made are to past events or figures, but sometimes allusions are made to current famous people or events.
The allusion does not give much detail about the reference-it does not describe things in detail. Rather, because these events are momentous-significant historically, culturally, or politically-the speaker or author expects that people in general would understand the allusion without explanation.
Allusions are often used within a metaphor or simile. The comparison alludes to an event or person of significance that everyone should understand.
Allusions often make reference to previous works of literature, especially references to the Bible and Greek or Roman mythology.
Examples of Allusions:
1. Your backyard is a Garden of Eden. (Biblical allusion)
2. I guess I should see this message about a new job as my burning bush. (Biblical Allusion)
3. When you feel betrayed by a friend, you can say, "You too, Brutus?" (allusion to Julius Caesar-Brutus betrayed Caesar)
4. You're a regular Einstein. (allusion to a historical figure)
5. When your parents learn about your new plan to raise money, it's going to sink like the Titanic. (allusion to a historical event)
6. You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. (reference to Atlas in myth)
7. That man is so narcissistic. (reference to Narcissus in mythology)
8. Don't be a Scrooge! (reference to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
9. Potato chips are my diet's Achilles heel. (reference to Achilles in mythology)
10. Many states have laws that protect Good Samaritan's. (reference to the Bible)