from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A clitic that is attached to the end of another word. In Give 'em the works, the pronoun 'em is an enclitic.
  • n. A clitic.
  • adj. Of or relating to an enclitic or enclisis; forming an accentual unit with the preceding word.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A clitic which phonetically joins with the preceding word. In English, the possessive 's is an example.
  • adj. Affixed phonetically.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Affixed; subjoined; -- said of a word or particle which leans back upon the preceding word so as to become a part of it, and to lose its own independent accent, generally varying also the accent of the preceding word.
  • n. A word which is joined to another so closely as to lose its proper accent, as the pronoun thee in prithee (pray thee).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Leaning on or against something else.
  • Specifically
  • In grammar, subjoined and accentually dependent: said of a word or particle which in regard to accent forms a part of a preceding word and is treated as if one with it, or gives up its separate accent, sometimes affecting that of its predecessor.
  • In obstetrics, opposed to synclitic (which see).
  • n. In grammar, a word accentually connected with a preceding word, as que (and) in Latin: arma virumque, arms and the man.


Late Latin encliticus, from Greek enklitikos, from enklīnein, to lean on : en-, on, in; see en-2 + klīnein, to lean; see klei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin encliticus, from Ancient Greek ἐγκλιτικός (enklitikos, "inclined towards"), from ἐγκλίνειν (enklinein, "lean on"), from ἐν (en, "upon") + κλίνειν (klinein, "to lean, incline"). (Wiktionary)



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  • JM is a severe critic of all instances of enclitic that just get'em wrong.

    March 29, 2011

  • A clitic that follows its host

    June 21, 2008

  • An Italian writer, Brunella Gasperini, wrote once about how exclaming "Jesus!" sounds so much more acceptable than "Christ!"...

    June 21, 2008

  • Because I am actually ten years old, this word sounds vaguely dirty.

    June 21, 2008