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

But the tranquility of this cooperative enclave is disturbed by the intrusion of some aggressive ICE agents and by the murder of a young woman grotesquely costumed as Marie Antoinette. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: When the Wheels Come Off," 25 Jan. 2019 Israel then imposed its blockade of the enclave, constricting trade and the movement of people. NBC News, "Israeli border communities fearful of Palestinian protests and threats of fire," 28 June 2018 The children were encircled by gunmen for 22 hours in the buses meant to take them out of the crumbling enclave, until the deal was finally sealed. Sarah El Deeb And Malak Harb, Fox News, "Syrian orphans who fled Aleppo find new home," 11 June 2018 The children were encircled by gunmen for 22 hours in the buses meant to take them out of the crumbling enclave, until the deal was finally sealed. Washington Post, "Syrian orphans who fled Aleppo find new home," 11 June 2018 Manbij emerged as a potential flash point between the United States and Turkey, which are NATO allies, after Mr. Erdogan sent Turkish forces to seize control of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in January. New York Times, "U.S. and Turkey Agree on Kurds’ Withdrawal From Syrian Town," 4 June 2018 The closure begins to the north of the tiny enclave of Gorda and continues 7 miles south to just above Salmon Creek Falls. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "Highway 1 set to reopen in September," 30 May 2018 Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, still tightly restrict the movement of goods and people in and out of the enclave. Hana Salah, latimes.com, "For Hamas, the deadly protests against Israel are a welcome diversion," 25 May 2018 Tens of thousands of people have already fled other parts of the enclave after a two-month bombardment killed hundreds. Sarah El Sirgany And Hilary Clarke, CNN, "Gassed where they had hidden, Syrian families killed in minutes," 9 Apr. 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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Statistics for enclave

Last Updated

14 May 2019

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Time Traveler for enclave

The first known use of enclave was in 1868

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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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using a distributed computer network

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