[ en-kleyv, ahn- ]
/ ˈɛn kleɪv, ˈɑn- /


a country, or especially, an outlying portion of a country, entirely or mostly surrounded by the territory of another country.
any small, distinct area or group enclosed or isolated within a larger one: a Chinese-speaking enclave in London.

verb (used with object), en·claved, en·clav·ing.

to isolate or enclose (especially territory) within a foreign or uncongenial environment; make an enclave of: The desert enclaved the little settlement.

Nearby words

  1. encke,
  2. encke's comet,
  3. encke's division,
  4. encl.,
  5. enclasp,
  6. enclitic,
  7. enclose,
  8. enclosed,
  9. enclosed order,
  10. enclosure

Origin of enclave

1865–70; < French, Middle French, noun derivative of enclaver < Vulgar Latin *inclāvāre to lock in, equivalent to Latin in- in-2 + clāv(is) key + -āre infinitive suffix

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for enclave

British Dictionary definitions for enclave


/ (ˈɛnkleɪv) /


a part of a country entirely surrounded by foreign territory: viewed from the position of the surrounding territoriesCompare exclave

Word Origin for enclave

C19: from French, from Old French enclaver to enclose, from Vulgar Latin inclāvāre (unattested) to lock up, from Latin in- ² + clavis key

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for enclave



1868, from French enclave, from Old French enclaver "enclose, comprise, include" (13c.), from Late Latin inclavare "shut in, lock up," from Latin in- "in" (see in- (2)) + clavis "key" (see slot (n.2)). Enclaved "surrounded by land owned by another" is attested in English from mid-15c., from Middle French enclaver.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for enclave


[ ĕnklāv′, ŏn- ]


A detached mass of tissue enclosed in tissue of another kind.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.