enclave

play
noun en·clave \ˈen-ˌklāv, ˈän-ˌklāv\

Definition of enclave

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

enclave was our Word of the Day on 03/19/2009. Hear the podcast!

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."

Origin and Etymology of enclave

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


First Known Use: 1868


ENCLAVE Defined for English Language Learners

enclave

play
noun en·clave \ˈen-ˌklāv, ˈän-ˌklāv\

Definition of enclave for English Language Learners

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


Medical Dictionary

enclave

play play
noun en·clave \ˈen-ˌklāv; ˈän-ˌklāv, ˈäŋ-, -ˌkläv\

Medical Definition of enclave

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



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

acid in temper, mood, or tone

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!