(of a word) closely connected in pronunciation with the preceding word and not having an independent accent or phonological status.


an enclitic word, as Latin que “and” in arma virumque, “arms and the man.”

Nearby words

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

Origin of enclitic

1650–60; < Late Latin encliticus < Greek enklitikós, equivalent to en- en-2 + klít(os) slope + -ikos -ic

Related formsen·clit·i·cal·ly, adverb

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

British Dictionary definitions for enclitic



  1. denoting or relating to a monosyllabic word or form that is treated as a suffix of the preceding word, as Latin -que in populusque
  2. (in classical Greek) denoting or relating to a word that throws an accent back onto the preceding word


an enclitic word or linguistic form
Compare proclitic

Derived Formsenclitically, adverb

Word Origin for enclitic

C17: from Late Latin encliticus, from Greek enklitikos, from enklinein to cause to lean, from en- ² + klinein to lean

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 enclitic


1650s (adj.); 1660s (n.), from Late Latin encliticus, from Greek enklitikos "throwing its accent back," literally "leaning on," from verbal adjectival stem of enklinein "to bend, lean on," from en (see en- (2)) + klinein "to lean" (see lean (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper