apart·heid | \ə-ˈpär-ˌtāt, -ˌtīt \

Definition of apartheid 

1 : racial segregation specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa

2 : separation, segregation cultural apartheid gender apartheid

Examples of apartheid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

David Goldblatt, a South African photographer who cast a sensitive and penetrating light on both sides of the country’s racial divide during the apartheid era, died June 25 at his home in Johannesburg. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "David Goldblatt, penetrating photographer of South Africa under apartheid, dies at 87," 26 June 2018 Fugard, who is white, portrayed that role himself in the 1961 premiere in South Africa; a defiant statement in the apartheid era, when a black man and white man had not performed together on stage before. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "American Players Theatre's casting of a white actor as a black man in 'Blood Knot' stirs controversy," 22 June 2018 The parallels were perhaps strongest in apartheid-era South Africa, where laws oppressed the majority-black community for decades. Rodney Muhumuza, Fox News, "Martin Luther King Jr.'s work still resonates across Africa," 2 Apr. 2018 Often think of this photo of her in front of the house she was banished to (a bizarre apartheid era form of internal exile) in 1977 with her daughter. Britni Danielle, Essence.com, "Winnie Mandela Dies At 81," 2 Apr. 2018 So, is Shriver worried that the police will use ownership of her books as justification to arrest and detain activists without trial, as happened in apartheid South Africa? Constance Grady, Vox, "What is the place of conspiracy fiction in the era of fake news?," 17 Mar. 2018 Under the rule of European colonists, South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped most black people of their right to own property, a policy reinforced decades later by the National Party and its system of apartheid, or apartness. Arabile Gumede, Bloomberg.com, "Why Land Seizure Is Back in News in South Africa," 1 Mar. 2018 His story arcs have tackled xenophobia, white supremacy, apartheid, geopolitics and everything in between. Jada Prather, The Root, "Black Panther Is Finally Here, Before You 'All Hail the King' Here's Some Background," 15 Feb. 2018 Although apartheid ended nearly 25 years ago, its legacy lives on, said Kevin Chaplin, the foundation’s director of 11 years. Makeda Easter, latimes.com, "An American scholar was killed in South Africa nearly 25 years ago. Today her legacy lives on through music," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apartheid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apartheid

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apartheid

Afrikaans, from apart apart + -heid -hood

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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The first known use of apartheid was in 1947

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English Language Learners Definition of apartheid

: a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people

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What made you want to look up apartheid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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