• synonyms


verb (used with object), en·closed, en·clos·ing.
  1. to shut or hem in; close in on all sides: a valley enclosed by tall mountains.
  2. to surround, as with a fence or wall: to enclose land.
  3. to insert in the same envelope, package, or the like: He enclosed a check. A book was sent with the bill enclosed.
  4. to hold or contain: His letter enclosed a check.
  5. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. to restrict to the enclosure of a monastery or convent.
    2. (of a monastery, convent, church, etc.) to establish or fix the boundary of an enclosure.
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Also inclose.

Origin of enclose

First recorded in 1275–1325, enclose is from the Middle English word en-, inclosen. See in-1, close
Related formsen·clos·a·ble, adjectiveen·clos·er, nounpre·en·close, verb (used with object), pre·en·closed, pre·en·clos·ing.re·en·close, verb (used with object), re·en·closed, re·en·clos·ing.self-en·closed, adjectiveun·en·closed, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unenclosed

Historical Examples

  • His way led across an unenclosed outskirt of the town which served as a common to the poor people of the neighborhood.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 26, October, 1880


  • Yet he was found useful for attending to rearing cattle and sheep—then kept in great numbers on the unenclosed grounds of Brea.

  • The houses line one side of the boulevards, the other being open to the fields, which are highly cultivated and unenclosed.

    A Residence in France

    J. Fenimore Cooper

  • The spot, all unenclosed as it was, was evidently utilized by some builder for the storage of various kinds of lumber.

    Monsieur Lecoq, v.1

    Emile Gaboriau

  • They were together on the heathy, unenclosed ground of Cannock Chase, and had already walked some ten or twelve miles.

    Mr. Scarborough's Family

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for unenclosed



verb (tr)
  1. to close; hem in; surround
  2. to surround (land) with or as if with a fence
  3. to put in an envelope or wrapper, esp together with a letter
  4. to contain or hold
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Derived Formsenclosable or inclosable, adjectiveencloser or incloser, noun
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 unenclosed



early 14c., from en- (1) + close, and partially from Old French enclos, past participle of enclore.

Specific sense of "to fence in waste or common ground" for the purpose of cultivation or to give it to private owners, is from c.1500. Meaning "place a document with a letter for transmission" is from 1707. Related: Enclosed; enclosing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper