seg·re·ga·tion | \ˌse-gri-ˈgā-shən \

Definition of segregation 

1 : the act or process of segregating : the state of being segregated

2a : the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means

b : the separation for special treatment or observation of individuals or items from a larger group segregation of gifted children into accelerated classes

3 : the separation of allelic genes that occurs typically during meiosis

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Examples of segregation in a Sentence

They fought to end the segregation of public schools. the segregation of men and women

Recent Examples on the Web

There were discussions of segregation and dialogues with the black students that left people in tears. Anne M. Hamilton,, "Extraordinary Life: A Passion For Women's Rights, Social Justice," 1 July 2018 His Chicago Freedom Movement most pointedly challenged discriminatory housing practices that reinforced racial segregation and black poverty. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Moments From American History That Matter Right Now," 28 June 2018 That and the general decay of Detroit, which, through years of intense segregation and job loss, saw its population shrink by more than 60 percent between the mid-20th century and the early aughts. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Why Ford Is Buying Detroit’s Derelict Train Station," 19 June 2018 An Amnesty International report from November documented a system of institutionalized discrimination and segregation of the Rohingya that was meant to erase their identity. Fox News, "Rohingya say Myanmar targeted the educated in genocide," 5 June 2018 In February, President Lyndon Johnson’s Kerner Commission released a report on recent civil uprisings fueled, in part, by segregation and economic inequity. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "In Louisville's Parkland neighborhood, the scars of 1968 riots are still visible," 26 May 2018 The museum takes you through Jim Crow and segregation and their effects on today. Ike Morgan,, "The week Down in Alabama: Mountain oysters served here," 28 Apr. 2018 These older industrial counties, or OICs, had greater income segregation and concentrated poverty, as well as wide gaps in racial income and employment. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How fighting inequality can help cities grow their economies," 25 Apr. 2018 Maya Washington relived that path, going on a journey with her father to revisit his escape from segregation and the Spartans’ role in integrating college football. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Gene Washington blazed integration trail in East Lansing," 13 Apr. 2018

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

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for segregation

The first known use of segregation was in 1555

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More Definitions for segregation



English Language Learners Definition of segregation

: the practice or policy of keeping people of different races, religions, etc., separate from each other


seg·re·ga·tion | \ˌse-gri-ˈgā-shən \

Kids Definition of segregation

: the practice or policy of separating a race, class, or group from the rest of society


seg·re·ga·tion | \ˌseg-ri-ˈgā-shən \

Medical Definition of segregation 

: the separation of allelic genes that occurs typically during meiosis

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seg·re·ga·tion | \ˌse-gri-ˈgā-shən \

Legal Definition of segregation 

1 : separation of individuals or groups and especially racial groups — compare desegregation

de facto segregation

: segregation of racial groups that arises as a result of economic, social, or other factors rather than by operation or enforcement of laws or other official state action

de jure segregation

: segregation intended or mandated by law or otherwise intentionally arising from state action

Note: De jure segregation is illegal.

2 : separate confinement of prisoners within a penal institution

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