apart·​heid | \ ə-ˈpär-ˌtāt How to pronounce apartheid (audio) , -ˌtīt How to pronounce apartheid (audio) \

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

Still, there were failures and compromises both in how authorities delimited the scope of the inquiries and in how South Africa’s post-apartheid government enacted the commission’s eventual recommendations. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Notes on Cancel Culture," 1 July 2019 One of the organizers, Amber Ashley James, points out that Bacow’s stance is contradictory, as Harvard has indeed divested from tobacco, apartheid South Africa, and companies complicit in Darfur genocide. Nylah Burton, Essence, "Black Harvard Students Want The University To Divest From The Prison-Industrial Complex," 20 June 2019 As in post-apartheid South Africa and the former Yugoslavia, researchers are betting there will come a day of reckoning before international law for North Korea’s leaders. Victoria Kim, latimes.com, "Eyewitnesses help document public executions in North Korea for a day of reckoning," 10 June 2019 Orania was established in 1991 by a band of Afrikaner right-wingers, including the widow of Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 In the 1980s, Reformed Christians such as H.C. Hoeksema used Romans 13 to argue against resisting apartheid in South Africa. Laura Nasrallah, Washington Post, "What Jeff Sessions got wrong when quoting the Bible," 15 June 2018 To the end, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela remained a polarizing figure in South Africa, admired by loyalists who were prepared to focus on her contribution to ending apartheid, vilified by critics who foremost saw her flaws. Alan Cowell, New York Times, "Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Is Dead at 81; Fought Apartheid," 2 Apr. 2018 The 86-year-old Tutu is best known for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and his association with Nelson Mandela. Jc Reindl And Greg Gardner, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit auto show: Jesse Jackson honors 3 during MLK Day event," 15 Jan. 2018 In 1995, then deputy minister of arts in South Africa’s first post-apartheid government, Winnie was forced to step down amid allegations of corruption. Eli Meixler, Time, "Anti-Apartheid Activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Leaves Behind a Complicated Legacy," 3 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of apartheid

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apartheid

Afrikaans, from apart apart + -heid -hood

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apartheid

Statistics for apartheid

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apartheid

The first known use of apartheid was in 1947

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for apartheid



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on apartheid

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!