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Allusion is a reference to a person, idea, place, or thing. It makes a historical, political, cultural, or literary reference.
In American culture, a frustrated parent might make the following allusion to a mischievous child: "Better behave yourself. Someone's making a list, and checking it twice!" While Santa is never mentioned, the inference is clear.
The movie Forrest Gump has many allusions. One of my favorites takes place during Forrest's "long run." An entrepreneur with a surplus of yellow t-shirts offers one to Forrest so he can wipe the mud from his face. The result alludes to the birth of the smiley face.
On a historical note, I often ponder if one of former president Bill Clinton's favorite songs might be Devil With the Blue Dress On.
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