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

The tiny enclave north of New York is luring vacation home buyers as the anti-Hamptons. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "A Hamlet Hideaway for Wealthy New Yorkers," 7 Nov. 2018 And of course, what would any up-and-coming enclave be without at least one spinning studio and juice bar? Alexandra Hall, BostonGlobe.com, "At the heart of Woodfords Corner’s revival is this: ‘You don’t get very many opportunities in life to do what you really believe in’," 26 June 2018 The more than 200-year-old enclave is Howard County’s cultural heart, its highest-profile attraction and a big economic generator. Steve Thompson, Washington Post, "Ellicott City will rebuild, but difficult decisions lie ahead," 1 June 2018 For decades, these high-income enclaves had been a key part of the GOP base; now, some look like battlegrounds — while others look like Blue America’s new frontiers. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "5 Lessons From the Pennsylvania Special Election," 14 Mar. 2018 The enclave has been under an ever-tightening siege since then. Bassem Mroue, Fox News, "US woman trapped in Syria's Ghouta wants action from Trump," 12 Mar. 2018 The wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, Winfrey's home survived the storm and slides. CBS News, "Race to find survivors of fast-moving SoCal mudslides," 10 Jan. 2018 That trash is often concentrated in habitable enclaves inside the park like the Mammoth Cabins in Yellowstone. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "For National Parks, The End of the Shutdown Means the Hard Part Begins," 28 Jan. 2019 Conrad’s body to a U.S. base in Djibouti, an enclave on the Gulf of Aden that houses 4,000 Americans. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "America’s Other Endless War: Battling al-Shabaab in Somalia," 17 Jan. 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

19 Feb 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 , ˈäŋ- , -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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