en·clave | \ ˈen-ˌklāv , ˈän-ˌklāv \

Definition of enclave 

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

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Did You Know?

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

Over the past few months, the defense establishment and several international agencies have been working on several plans to alleviate the dire situation in the coastal enclave. Jewish Journal, "Palestinian Authority outraged as White House says it will push regional peace plan," 10 July 2018 English is more widespread in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, Russia's western-most city. Angela Charlton, The Christian Science Monitor, "World Cup host Russia defies Soviet-era, hostile image with smiles," 20 June 2018 Gossage bought one cabin in this enclave in 1974, just as his Hall of Fame pitching career took root. New York Times, "An Exiled Old-Timer, Goose Gossage Still Won’t Back Down," 15 June 2018 Paramedics were called to a home in the upscale enclave of Coto de Caza just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, said Capt. Brian Melley, Houston Chronicle, "Olympic skier Bode Miller's toddler daughter drowns in pool," 12 June 2018 The first is to convince the city’s 10,000 Chinese students to spend more in the enclave. The Economist, "Europe’s oldest Chinatown fights for survival," 31 May 2018 In the preceding weeks, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department had received reports of prowlers, burglaries, strange hang-ups and silent phone calls from 12 different homes in the enclave known as Cordova Meadows. Marjie Lundstrom And Sam Stanton, sacbee, "Rapes and burglaries had occurred. But this was the first time the East Area Rapist killed | The Sacramento Bee," 14 May 2018 The remains of those men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 will be laid to rest Wednesday in the town whose name has become synonymous with the brutality of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Washington Post, "Bosnian Muslims to bury 35 Srebrenica massacre victims," 11 July 2018 In the long-running battle over airplane noise, new tactics are emerging to fight FAA flight paths over neighborhoods, including some of the most affluent enclaves in the nation. Katy Mclaughlin, WSJ, "Affluent—and Angry—Homeowners Raise Ruckus Over Roar of Overhead Planes," 5 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near enclave


en clair






Statistics for enclave

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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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 , ˈäŋ- , -ˌkläv \

Medical Definition of enclave 

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

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Comments on enclave

What made you want to look up enclave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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