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 Murray also spearheaded an effort to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C., in 1943 – 17 years before the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 Their actions later inspired a group of 13 Freedom Riders who tried to desegregate commercial buses in May 1961. USA Today, 21 Sep. 2021 Before the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro in 1960, there were Murray and peers from Howard University leading a direct action to forcefully desegregate the Little Palace Cafeteria in 1943. Sarah-tai Black, Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021 As a college student at American Baptist College and then Fisk University, Lewis helped desegregate public spaces in Nashville and pushed for racial justice across the South. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 8 July 2021 That decision stands out in my memory as one of the court’s most consequential decisions since its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools. Clarence Page,, 3 Sep. 2021 The standards are a direct result of the Sheff v O’Neill litigation, filed to desegregate Hartford schools in 1989. Edmund H. Mahony,, 16 Aug. 2021 In his youth, Lewis applied to the school in an attempt to desegregate it. Tribune News Service, al, 17 July 2021 Emory didn't desegregate until 1962, when the Georgia Supreme Court sided with the university in its challenge to state laws that denied tax-exempt status to schools that racially integrated. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 20 June 2021

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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The first known use of desegregate was in 1949

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Desegregate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on desegregate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for desegregate

Nglish: Translation of desegregate for Spanish Speakers


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