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

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 Linda Brown, who became the symbolic center of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court case that desegregated the nation's public schools, died on Sunday at 76. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Linda Brown’s death is a reminder of how much segregation still exists in America’s schools," 27 Mar. 2018 Out of Green and the many cases that followed it, the Supreme Court built a complex and versatile set of rules for desegregating schools. Will Stancil, The Atlantic, "Is School Desegregation Coming to an End?," 28 Feb. 2018 Public school districts across the country have long wrestled with how to desegregate their schools in ways supported by the law, which forbids districts from using the race of individual students to determine their placement. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Rollback of Affirmative Action Guidelines Could Reshape K-12 School Districts," 14 July 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

15 May 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

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