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

It has been assumed that this strict segregation of ant society into age-and-task groups could help prevent epidemics, but this assumption had never been tested. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Sick ants stay away from the kids," 26 Nov. 2018 There is a history where there is oppression, obviously, slavery and segregation and so forth, but that is gone. Fox News, "Author Shelby Steele on race relations, equality in America," 16 July 2018 On the one hand there has been this tradition of a rigid, narrow, fundamentalist restrictive version of Christianity, defending slavery and segregation and the oppression and submissiveness of women. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "How a Pastor and a Popcorn Shop Owner Helped Save Pride in Starkville," 21 June 2018 In an impassioned speech, President Obama pointed out the highs and lows of being black in America, from slavery and Jim Crow segregation to voting rights and economic leaders., "National black history museum opens," 6 June 2018 No, our new problem is the same old segregation that led to the white mob riots in 1943 and the black rebellion in 1967. Dream Hampton, Bon Appetit, "Flowers of Vietnam Is As Detroit As It Gets," 6 June 2018 Combined, the memorial and an accompanying museum a few miles away at the Equal Justice Initiative headquarters tell a story spanning slavery, racial segregation, violence and today’s era of swollen prison populations. Washington Post, "New lynching memorial offers chance to remember, heal," 22 Apr. 2018 The company produced publications that became propagandists for the National Party, which came to power in 1948 and instituted the apartheid system of racial segregation. Alexandra Wexler, WSJ, "The African Media Giant That Wants to Create the New Craigslist," 25 Oct. 2018 Like Israel, South Africa was also ringed by hostile countries and its policy of racial segregation made defense cooperation with other countries unlikely. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Sheep Glands Point to Nukes as Source of Mysterious 1979 Explosion," 12 Sep. 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

13 Dec 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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Comments on segregation

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


a nest or breeding place

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