de·​seg·​re·​gate | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈse-gri-ˌgāt How to pronounce desegregate (audio) \
desegregated; desegregating; desegregates

Definition of desegregate

transitive verb

: to eliminate segregation in specifically : to free of any law, provision, or practice requiring isolation of the members of a particular race in separate units

Examples of desegregate in a Sentence

efforts to desegregate the town's buses Eventually the city's schools desegregated.

Recent Examples on the Web

Across the country in the 1970s, courts were ordering schools to desegregate. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Kamala Harris and Classmates Were Bused Across Berkeley. The Experience Changed Them.," 30 June 2019 Harris also noted Biden opposed federal measures to ensure that local jurisdictions used busing to desegregate public schools during the 1970s. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Biden defends his track record on race after debate stage clash with Harris," 28 June 2019 McKissack said her grandfather built the Tuskegee air force base where black pilots trained to desegregate World War II. CBS News, "Inside the nation's oldest African-American-owned, female-run construction management firm," 8 June 2019 Schools were desegregated though a Supreme Court decision, which had to be implemented with the help of the National Guard. Laila Lalami, New York Times, "Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?," 26 June 2018 The 1947 ruling in their case, Mendez et al v. Westminster et al, marked the first time that any U.S. schools were mandated to desegregate, although only for cases involving Mexican-American students. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "Sylvia Mendez Helped Integrate California Schools for Latinx Students in the 1940s, But She Says the U.S. Is More Segregated Now," 3 Dec. 2018 President Truman established an influential commission to study the problem of civil rights and issued an executive order desegregating the military. Joseph Crespino, WSJ, "‘Unexampled Courage’ Review: Showing America the Way," 18 Jan. 2019 On Tuesday, students again tried to desegregate the bowling alley, and again were turned away. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "‘Stained with blood’: The 1968 campus massacre of black protesters by South Carolina police," 8 Feb. 2018 The last straw may have come when the group sued to desegregate two school districts. Jeff Amy, The Seattle Times, "Lawyer in civil rights struggle, Michael Trister, dies at 77," 30 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desegregate.' 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 desegregate

1949, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for desegregate

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for desegregate

The first known use of desegregate was in 1949

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More Definitions for desegregate



English Language Learners Definition of desegregate

: to end a policy that keeps people of different races apart : to end a policy of segregation


de·​seg·​re·​gate | \ dē-ˈse-gri-ˌgāt How to pronounce desegregate (audio) \
desegregated; desegregating

Kids Definition of desegregate

: to end by law the separation of members of different races desegregate schools


transitive verb
de·​seg·​re·​gate | \ dē-ˈse-grə-ˌgāt How to pronounce desegregate (audio) \
desegregated; desegregating

Legal Definition of desegregate

: to eliminate segregation in specifically : to free from any law, provision, or practice requiring isolation of the members of a particular race in separate units

intransitive verb

: to become desegregated

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More from Merriam-Webster on desegregate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with desegregate

Spanish Central: Translation of desegregate

Nglish: Translation of desegregate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on desegregate

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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