Illicit vs. Elicit


Illicit vs. Elicit. Both are important SAT/ACT vocabulary words to know and they're practically homophones - but they have VERY different meanings.

You certainly don't want to confuse the two in your SAT or ACT essay!

Here's how I remember which is which:

  • ILLicit is an adjective for something that is illegal or something that might make others feel ill. So for example: illicit trade, illicit gambling, illicit underground associations.

  • Elicit is a verb for when you're trying to get someone to express or evoke something. So for example: elicit an emotion, elicit excitement, elicit a reaction.

Generally, I just remember that illicit is the illegal one. And then all other times, I just use elicit.

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Photo Credit: gruntzooki, Joe Shlabotnik