Cave temples had become a well-established way of evoking and enforcing a spiritual message, lying along trade routes and eliding the idea of sanctuary and the divine on the one hand with commerce and travel on the other. (The Silk Roads)

According to Webster Dictionary, elide means suppress or alter by elision or leave out of consideration. I don't understand the meaning : elide the idea of sanctuary and divine on the one hand with commerce and travel on the other.

2 Answers 2


In a non-linguistic sense, elide means "merge" or "join together".

whole periods of time are elided into a few seconds of screen time (example from lexico)

So this simply means that the caves' function as "sanctuary and the divine" merged with a function of "commerce and travel". Caves were used for both purposes, at the same time.

  • I think that translation is very rational in the context, but wonder what the foundation is of elide's having the meaning of merge.
    – Mankak
    Apr 12, 2022 at 8:00
  • No "foundation". That is just the meaning of "elide" from the dictionary (lexico in this case)
    – James K
    Apr 12, 2022 at 8:06

Elide is a rare technical-sounding word, usually used in linguistics. In that context, it can mean deleting a sound, but can more specifically mean smashing two words together by deleting some sounds in between them. For example, "gotcha" (got you) or "dunno" (don't know). I was just reading its wikipedia page, and the verb "elide" is used all sorts of ways. The words elide together, the sounds are elided, etc. I think your quote means that the boundary between the two ideas was removed. But it sounds kinda pretentious to me lol.

It's funny that someone who likes to use the word "elide" would probably never elide any of their words.

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