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 Citing a security threat, Israel has also sealed the roads around the Gaza Strip and blockaded the ​​Nusseirat power plant, which provides electricity to the 2.3 million people who live in the coastal enclave. Paul Goldman, NBC News, 6 Aug. 2022 Israeli jets pounded militant targets in Gaza early Saturday as rockets rained on southern Israel, hours after a wave of Israeli airstrikes on the coastal enclave killed at least 11 people, including a senior militant and a 5-year-old girl. Tia Goldenberg, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Aug. 2022 Hamas and Islamic Jihad are sometime rivals that coexist in the tiny coastal enclave of Gaza, often uniting against their common enemy, Israel. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 The Israeli closure imposed on the coastal enclave prevents exchanges with other Arab amputee squads, such as in neighboring Jordan. Isra Namey, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 July 2022 An ancient tomb dating as far back as 2,400 years to the Roman era has been unearthed by archeologists in the Gaza Strip, showcasing the coastal enclave's rich history. Hadas Gold, CNN, 1 July 2022 Critics of the pro-Beijing regime dispute this explanation, instead tying the cancellations to the Chinese Communist Party's crackdown on the formerly self-governing enclave. Grayson Quay, The Week, 4 Jan. 2022 Travel to a tiny coastal enclave for a true blast from the past at the Andiron Seaside Inn & Cabins. Kristin Braswell, USA TODAY, 29 Oct. 2020 In Jamaica, Queens—a stone’s throw from Jamaica Estates, a tony enclave of Tudor-style houses, where Donald Trump grew up—a Sri Lankan grocery store, with a kitchen, was for rent. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 22 July 2022 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

18 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Enclave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enclave. Accessed 19 Aug. 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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