According to OED:

1.1 trans. To give or put in (obs.); to take in, include, inclose; esp. to take in, inclose or reclaim (waste or unprofitable land). Now dial.

A few examples from OED:

1592 Bacon Observ. Libel in Resuscitatio (1661) 113 Wast, and unprofitable Ground Inned, Reclaimed, and Improved.    1640 Somner Antiq. Canterb. 290 Appledore mershes were inned in his time.    1852 Humber Conserv. Act 2038 Any part of the shores‥shall be inned, gained, or reclaimed from the water.    1875 Parish Sussex Gloss. s.v., I inned that piece of land from the common.

Collins Dictionary provides an even broader definition:

  1. to enclose

I cannot understand precisely what the verb's meaning is in this context, even though many examples can be found on Google Books. It is often used in reference to marshes, but also to lands and grounds.

The question is: what is the precise meaning in this case? Enclosed as separated from other lands? Included as moved under the right of property? Reclaimed as dried? All of these? Or do I miss something?

  • Whatever the meaning, it's archaic (at least in the US), and using "in" as a verb is apt to draw strange looks.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 19:06
  • These are all slightly different meanings. Are there particular meanings that are not clear?
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 19:06
  • I am not sure whether all of these slightly different meaning are correct, or OED just uses them as a description, while I fail to grasp the meaning in general.
    – Eddy V.
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


I suspect you need to be looking at the history of land inclosure (yes, with initial i) starting from the Inclosure acts.

These are an important part of UK agricultural history, but their effects extended overseas as well. Very broadly they related to taking land formerly regarded as common or otherwise shared, and granting it to single owners.

  • Thank you, this is a very valuable answer. So, the lands were enclosed within certain boundaries. Could you please clarify whether this historical meaning is the same as preserved today in dialectal usage? Based on the information available, I believe that it is.
    – Eddy V.
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 19:16
  • 1
    I'm not familiar with any current usage (southern England and South Wales, but urban) so can't comment on that, sorry. But the OED definition implies that the inclosure acts would be relevant - words like "waste" and "improved" are important here - and doesn't say anything has changed under "now dial."
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 21:22

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