Definition of enclosure in English:


(also inclosure)


  • 1An area that is surrounded by a barrier.

    ‘a deer enclosure’
    • ‘In the middle Iron Age, open settlement was superseded by a large enclosure surrounded by a 6m-wide ditch, with an associated field system.’
    • ‘How can one be sure that the dry moat surrounding the enclosures would actually prevent the lions or the bears from jumping across?’
    • ‘Could zoos design enclosures to keep vulnerable animals properly?’
    • ‘Now the authorities have taken up the work of putting up a contour wall around the enclosure and earth-filling work has also been taken up.’
    • ‘Philip was officially opening the new attraction, one of the UK's largest otter enclosures.’
    • ‘Some days later, half a dozen plastic covers containing some popcorn were found near one of the deer enclosures.’
    • ‘Hughes endured a barrage of insults as he jogged in front of the animal enclosure.’
    • ‘The remains of a small amphitheatre and three rectangular enclosures, possibly Roman, can be seen in fields beside the road.’
    • ‘The elephants are in an enclosure surrounded by an electric fence and guards will monitor them on horseback and from speed boats.’
    • ‘The Park itself has many other attractions, such as woodland walks, deer enclosures and wild boar areas.’
    • ‘One spot that has been identified for this is the half-acre area near the giraffe enclosure.’
    • ‘Disinfection powder is sprinkled outside animal enclosures to keep away insects and pests.’
    • ‘The two fenced enclosures have been placed by the main entrance to the building, in an area that is to be landscaped.’
    • ‘Two at a time, men enter an enclosure, each holding a bird under his arm.’
    • ‘Well, I'd come to visit the zoo - and, more specifically, to check out its latest additions: lions and chimps in special new enclosures.’
    • ‘The big cat took exception to Jill and Steve Argent's red Rover when it entered the tiger enclosure.’
    • ‘Almost immediately he began setting up his own Botanic Garden, taking over an old stone-walled enclosure, formerly the common or stable yard, next to the kitchen garden.’
    • ‘The two other lions have been moved to a small indoor enclosure at the zoo.’
    • ‘There were ponies frightened out of their enclosures, cattle racing mad throughout the fields, not to mention the land itself, which was all cut-up.’
    • ‘The park has been closed, with all the animals being kept inside their cages except for some monkeys who are allowed to play outside in a special enclosure.’
    • ‘The chariot had been placed in a large oval pit in the centre of a square ditched enclosure.’
    paddock, fold, pen, compound, stockade, ring, yard, pound
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British A section of a racecourse for a specified activity or group of people.
      ‘the members' enclosure’
      • ‘With transfers into the members enclosure also available at extra cost at most race meetings, ticket holders have additional flexibility.’
      • ‘Forget the road congestion, it's the traffic jams inside the racecourse enclosures which will occupy the team bringing this magnificent spectacle to York.’
      • ‘The victorious Culloty gets a huge reception when he returns to the winners' enclosure.’
      • ‘It was a far cry from members' enclosures at racetracks.’
      • ‘On the other side of the track, the enclosure was teeming with people tucking into food hampers while supping from cans and plastic glasses.’
      • ‘Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Knight, won his third Gold Cup last year and now has an enclosure named after him at the course.’
      • ‘The famous Ascot dress code also applies, with top hat and tails a must for men in the royal enclosure.’
      • ‘He has a very good strike rate and level-stakes profit with all his rides and I'm sure there are plenty more winners' enclosures for him to visit in 2005.’
      • ‘Hopefully, we will see him in the winner's enclosure on the day.’
      • ‘Aintree's famous enclosed winner's enclosure will welcome its last Grand National victor on Saturday.’
      • ‘His cheerful and sporting disposition guarantee a rapturous reception in the winner's enclosure.’
      • ‘From the track to the unsaddling enclosure, every yard felt like a mile.’
      • ‘The owner was clearly deflated as he waited for his horse to return to the saddling enclosure.’
      • ‘We ran towards the unsaddling enclosure 100 yards away and made it with seconds to spare.’
      area, special area, assigned area, compound, arena
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A barrier that surrounds an area.
      ‘the cemetery lay within a high walled enclosure’
      • ‘Each centre typically comprises one or more earthwork enclosures containing burial mounds.’
      • ‘Once spawning began, a large enclosure was constructed across the mouth of the bay containing the colony.’
      • ‘The theory is that deer see the enclosure and while they can easily jump over, they don't want to get trapped in an enclosed area.’
      • ‘Ditches, fences, and other enclosures kept out animal intruders, such as cattle, foxes, and small rodents.’
      • ‘The most obvious is a small roughly circular earthwork enclosure, known as The Ring.’
      • ‘In Canada, leisure activities may have to take place either inside, or within enclosures protected by mosquito nets and on artificial turf.’
      • ‘Each enclosure had three walls and was open on the forest side.’
      • ‘He died after a rare Asian elephant, threw him against the walls of the enclosure at Chester Zoo then head-butted him.’
      • ‘Fencing materials were carried by the students to the top of the mountain to be used to build enclosures to protect the vegetation inside.’
      • ‘Open decks form the main showroom spaces, while simple glass enclosures contain administration, staff and sales rooms.’
      • ‘One option is to construct a simple hinged gate that makes up one wall of the enclosure.’
      • ‘Be sure to inspect walls, curtains, barriers, and enclosures for holes, burn marks, and other indications of misdirected laser energy.’
      • ‘It was a windy night, but the bowl-shaped rock formation around the area made a useful enclosure that kept the weather out.’
      • ‘A new wall and grills have already been put up to form an enclosure around the area.’
      • ‘And yes, when you look at the buildings and you see the high walls and the enclosures you really knew that it was to keep people in.’
      • ‘Around the circle is a ditched enclosure with an outer bank.’
      • ‘The project is expected to be long term, with the igloos remaining in the area as protective enclosures, shielding the penguins from dangers of domestic animals.’
      • ‘Wiping down tile shower enclosure walls with lemon oil also retards the formation of soap scum.’
      • ‘The bandstand has lost original parts, such as the decorative balustrade and metal enclosures, which surrounded the construction.’
      • ‘Ground-mounted equipment is surrounded by enclosures and warning signs are posted on the equipment and fences.’
      barrier, paling, railing, rail, bar, hurdle
      View synonyms
  • 2A document or object placed in an envelope together with a letter.

    • ‘Letters hold surprising enclosures - pressed violets, four-leaf clovers, and the occasional trinket.’
    • ‘We would be most grateful if as a matter of urgency you would confirm receipt of this letter and its enclosure.’
    • ‘This notification will acknowledge receipt of your latest communication and its enclosures.’
    • ‘The letter's enclosures included documents in support of that charge.’
    • ‘I trust that the contents of this letter and its enclosures answer your queries and concerns however if you have any further questions regarding our proposed changes please do not hesitate to contact me.’
    • ‘The letter contains no reference to any other enclosures with the letter apart from the insurance questionnaire.’
    • ‘Having considered her letter and enclosures we find that the reason that she has given for her non-attendance is quite unsatisfactory.’
    • ‘Included in the same exhibit, apparently as enclosures to the letter of 6 July, are a copy of the Master's order and of the court receipt for payment of the security.’
    • ‘I confirm that I received this letter and the enclosures.’
    insertion, inclusion, addition
    View synonyms
  • 3historical [mass noun] The process or policy of fencing in wasteland or common land so as to make it private property, as pursued in much of Britain in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

    ‘one of the chief effects of enclosure was to increase the number of landless workers’
    • ‘It has survived enclosure and modernisation and strips have been passed down through generations.’
    • ‘No one denies England's upper classes became wealthy partly as a result of the enclosure of common land, resulting in the creation of a sizeable class of landless poor.’
    • ‘Air photos show a pattern of Romano British fields under the later enclosures.’
    • ‘The privatisation of cultural expressions corresponds to the enclosure of public land in the fifteenth to eighteenth century.’
    • ‘Of course, like the first enclosure movement, this new one has its defenders.’
    • ‘At the beginning of the period, enclosure was often a piecemeal process, undertaken by agreement within the village or by fencing some land from common grazing on adjoining waste.’
    • ‘Commoners, squatters, and others who had lived on the land but without a specific landholding were expropriated at enclosure, and few seem to have been able to make a living thereafter.’
    • ‘This process, called enclosure, is taught in schools as a story about the way agriculture was made more efficient.’
    • ‘A process known as land enclosure had changed the face of the landscape.’
    • ‘The enclosure of common land permitted the systematic exploitation of timber or its improvement as arable land to meet the rising demand for grain.’
    • ‘This poem is one of the pithiest condemnations of the English enclosure movement, the process of fencing off common land and turning it into private property.’
    • ‘How did we get to this point of corporate ' enclosure of the commons'?’
    • ‘In this regard, " enclosure of the commons " is a useful term.’
    • ‘They were expressly exempted from inclosure under section 15 of the Inclosure Act 1845.’
    • ‘Social stratification was pronounced in the countryside of Europe even before the enclosure movement.’
  • 4The state of being enclosed, especially in a religious community.

    ‘the nuns kept strict enclosure’
    • ‘Tridentine decrees forced the enclosure of their community.’


Late Middle English: from legal Anglo-Norman French and Old French, from enclos closed in (see enclose).