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

The new government needed money to erase the legacies of apartheid. New York Times, "Corruption Gutted South Africa’s Tax Agency. Now the Nation Is Paying the Price.," 10 June 2018 The land was under the yoke of apartheid, and Bobby and Ethel toured Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. Time, "Robert F. Kennedy Was Killed While Campaigning for President. Here's What Drove Him to Run," 5 June 2018 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa and the former wife of late President Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 81. Laura Smith-spark And Eleni Giokos, CNN, "Crowds celebrate Winnie Mandela's life at Soweto memorial service," 11 Apr. 2018 Several thousand mourners have gathered at a stadium in Soweto for the memorial service for South Africa's anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died April 2 at 81. Fox News, "Thousands gather for memorial for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela," 11 Apr. 2018 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, died Monday at the age of 81. Eli Meixler, Time, "Anti-Apartheid Activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Leaves Behind a Complicated Legacy," 3 Apr. 2018 Desmond Tutu, a fellow anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in a statement. Bloomberg.com, "Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Dies at 81," 2 Apr. 2018 Miriam Makeba!’ This powerful look at South African singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba played a few film festivals in 2011, but was then taken out of circulation. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Freep Film Festival 2018: Lineup is announced," 13 Mar. 2018 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

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

4 Nov 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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