de·​seg·​re·​gate | \(ˌ)dē-ˈse-gri-ˌgāt \

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

In the 1960s and 1970s, as historian Randall Balmer has shown, white evangelicals in the South felt anxious about Supreme Court decisions forcing them to desegregate their K-12 academies and colleges. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Historian and author John Fea on Trump’s “court evangelicals” and the long history of Christian nationalism.," 5 Nov. 2018 Marshall was essentially arguing that officials in Little Rock, Ark. had to follow a federal court order to desegregate its schools. Bill Mears, Fox News, "The 'forgotten' Supreme Court decision and its impact on our politics," 9 Sep. 2018 Integration was a key objective from the beginning for MPS, which launched the immersion schools and other magnet programs as a way to comply with a federal court order to desegregate. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "At this MPS school, a mission of inclusion — and immersion in the French language — is vibrant after 40 years," 12 June 2018 In fact, the first wave of resistance lasted an entire decade, during which time Prince Edward County, Va., school officials closed public schools for five whole years rather than comply with the Supreme Court order to desegregate. Arica L. Coleman, Time, "The County That Closed Its Public Schools Rather Than Desegregate After Brown v. Board of Education," 16 May 2018 The appearance of two high-profile black men in the recently desegregated Southern city emboldened some and enraged many others. USA TODAY, "Nashville and the Destiny of Dissent," 15 Apr. 2018 On one occasion, Bobby and Jack were picking out suiting fabrics in the Oval Office while images of troops being sent to desegregate schools flashed across the television. Al Castiel Iii, Town & Country, "JFK's Personal Tailor Is Alive and Well in a Midtown Manhattan Office Building," 5 May 2017 But the lawsuit continued, with the plaintiffs claiming that the county schools had not truly desegregated. Will Stancil, The Atlantic, "The Radical Supreme Court Decision That America Forgot," 29 May 2018 But as major universities desegregated, competition for students grew, leading to declining enrollment at HBCUs. Maya Rhodan, Time, "A New Era of Protest Is Energizing Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But There Are Challenges," 22 May 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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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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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 \
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 \
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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