en·​clave | \ ˈen-ˌklāv How to pronounce enclave (audio) , ˈän-ˌklāv How to pronounce enclave (audio) \

Definition of enclave

: a distinct territorial, cultural, or social unit enclosed within or as if within foreign territory ethnic enclaves

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Looking for the keys to the etymology of enclave? You'll find them in French and Latin. English speakers borrowed "enclave" from French in the 19th century. The French noun derives in turn from the Middle French verb enclaver, meaning to "enclose." "Enclaver" itself can be traced to the Latin prefix in- and the Latin noun clavis, meaning "key." "Clavis" opened the door to a few other English words, some of which might seem unlikely relatives of "enclave." "Clavicle," the word for the bone that joins the breastbone and the shoulder blade, comes from "clavis," as does the musical sign "clef."

Examples of enclave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The enclave stayed small until the 1930s, when the arrival of World War II factory workers ignited a mini housing boom. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Bird Rock: Pelican perch, killer coffee and magnificent mansions," 28 June 2019 But the range of Russian anti-aircraft weapons is growing and Moscow has not been shy about deploying them close to NATO borders, especially in its enclave in Kalingrad. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How Roads Could Win or Lose a War With Russia," 23 July 2018 None of that makes any difference to the civilians of eastern Ghouta, who have been subject to regime leaflet drops aimed at pressuring them to leave the enclave. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Syrians in besieged eastern Ghouta refuse to leave," 5 Mar. 2018 Coming from one who grew up in your standard middle-class enclave, this is something to behold: The song's somber tones are enlivened by satellite views of in-ground pools and SUVs. Megan Diamondstein, Marie Claire, "Check This Out: Your Own Personal Music Video," 31 Aug. 2010 The Union Jack and the Hong Kong colonial flag were seen waving above the crowds—an indication of just how distant many in the semi-autonomous enclave, and former British colony, feel from their sovereign power China. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kong Freedom Campaigner Joshua Wong Released From Prison as Protesters Vow to Fight On," 17 June 2019 The violence has displaced hundreds of thousands inside the rebel enclave, which is home to 3 million people, most of them already displaced from earlier violence in Syria. Washington Post, "Syria insurgents shell government-held rural Aleppo, kill 12," 17 June 2019 Explore the village of Lahaina—once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, then a whaling port, and now an artsy enclave—to learn about the island’s past and present from local farmers and shopkeepers. National Geographic, "Hawai'i Middle School Expedition," 12 June 2019 The opposition outside the rebels’ enclave in Homs, along with various other nations, vowed to help. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "Syrian rebel leader’s death spurs debate about his legacy," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enclave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of enclave

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enclave

French, from Middle French, from enclaver to enclose, from Vulgar Latin *inclavare to lock up, from Latin in- + clavis key — more at clavicle

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Statistics for enclave

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for enclave

The first known use of enclave was in 1868

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More Definitions for enclave



English Language Learners Definition of enclave

: an area with people who are different in some way from the people in the areas around it


en·​clave | \ ˈen-ˌklāv; ˈän-ˌklāv How to pronounce enclave (audio) , ˈäŋ- How to pronounce enclave (audio) , -ˌkläv\

Medical Definition of enclave

: something enclosed in an organ or tissue but not a continuous part of it

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More from Merriam-Webster on enclave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enclave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enclave

Nglish: Translation of enclave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enclave for Arabic Speakers

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