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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Enclave comes from French enclaver, meaning "to enclose," which itself is based on 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. For example, clavicle, the word for the bone that joins the breastbone and the shoulder blade, and the musical sign clef.

Examples of enclave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another theatre opened in the Caucasus in 2020, when Azerbaijan attacked the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 However, antiquities have long been vulnerable to war, political uprisings, looting and rapid urban development to accommodate the enclave’s population of more than 2 million people. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 In addition, nearly three dozen cities in the county have issued votes of no confidence against Gascon and lawmakers in the wealthy enclave of Beverly Hills unanimously voted to support the recall in January. Fox News, 17 Mar. 2022 The Piedmont school district, located in a wealthy enclave surrounded by Oakland, has put out the welcome mat, urging students living outside the city limits to apply to attend its high-performing and well-funded schools. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Feb. 2022 Cummings, 57, has been police chief in the village of the wealthy enclave since 2011, after joining the department in 1987. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 29 July 2021 His respites from the grinding conditions of Auroville in its early years find him at the Dakota apartments in Manhattan, attending parties with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, or in the wealthy enclave of Fishers Island. New York Times, 22 July 2021 Broadway veteran Peter Gallagher played Cohen patriarch and Everyman Sandy — an assiduous public defender and Bronx transplant living in Newport Beach, a wealthy enclave of Orange County, with wife Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) and son Seth (Adam Brody). Lauren Pinnington, Vulture, 18 June 2021 The practical effect in shore towns like Deal, a wealthy enclave popular with New York doctors, lawyers, and business executives, has been that people who don’t live within walking distance of the sand are often not able to use it. BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of enclave was in 1868

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Enclave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enclave. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for enclave


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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