Definition of enclitic in English:


Pronunciation /enˈklidik/ /ɛnˈklɪdɪk/


  • A word pronounced with so little emphasis that it is shortened and forms part of the preceding word, e.g., n't in can't.

    Compare with proclitic

    ‘With its multitude of vowels and complex systems of inflections and enclitics, Navajo is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn.’
    • ‘The object pronoun ‘me’ is arguably an enclitic, merging phonologically with the word that precedes it.’


  • Denoting or relating to an enclitic.

    ‘As in Edinburgh, the enclitic negative is nae, ny, as in cannae can't, dinnae don't, whereas other dialects have na.’
    • ‘The inflectional and enclitic systems of Navajo are complex, with ten different prefixes possible in the left positions, and seven different enclitic options possible after the verb stem.’


Mid 17th century via late Latin from Greek enklitikos, from enklinein ‘lean on’, from en- ‘in, on’ + klinein ‘to lean’.