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 The book shows how apartheid-like conditions existed for Alaska Natives well into the 1940s, and how Peratrovich’s determination became an inspiration to other Natives, and ultimately Alaskans as a whole. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "Our book reviewers’ favorite reads of 2019," 28 Dec. 2019 Standout episodes include South African anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba, German-Jewish mathematician Emmy Noether, Mexican-American union organizer Jessie Lopez de la Cruz, and classical Arab poet al-Khansā'. Mara Katz, Ars Technica, "The five best new podcasts to help nerds escape the news cycle," 23 Dec. 2019 The 88-year-old anti-apartheid activist has been hospitalized several times over the past few years for the treatment of a similar condition, the office said in a statement on Wednesday. Brent Swails, CNN, "Archbishop Desmond Tutu in hospital treating 'stubborn infection'," 5 Dec. 2019 On day 3 of the family’s tour, the little royal was taken by his parents for his first official royal engagement to meet with famed anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Harry Says Son Archie 'Found His Voice' in Africa During Trip with Mom Meghan Markle," 20 Oct. 2019 Ngomane is the granddaughter of renowned anti-apartheid activist and Noble Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. Essence, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Just Added This South African Author To Their Royal Library," 1 Oct. 2019 Sophia Williams-De Bruyn is a former anti-apartheid activist and provincial legislator. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Duchess Meghan Hosts Private Breakfast with South African Activists," 28 Sep. 2019 Miss South Africa, the representative of a country with history involving apartheid, is black, has a short FADE and just won Miss Universe, a BEAUTY pageant. Braden Bjella, Teen Vogue, "Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh Crowned Miss World 2019," 16 Dec. 2019 Meanwhile, white musician Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) and black dancer Sandman Williams (Gregory Hines) partake of the establishment’s ironic apartheid work policy. Armond White, National Review, "Coppola’s Cotton Club Encore Remakes American Entertainment," 23 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler for apartheid

Time Traveler

The first known use of apartheid was in 1947

See more words from the same year

Statistics for apartheid

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apartheid.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apartheid. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for apartheid


How to pronounce apartheid (audio) How to pronounce apartheid (audio)

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).


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!