seg·​re·​ga·​tion | \ ˌse-gri-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce segregation (audio) \

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 Despite this, racial segregation remained rampant within the ranks during World War II -- a fact that weighed heavily on Haymon for many years, his granddaughter said. Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, "State's oldest WWII vet buried," 28 Dec. 2019 But for decades in Illinois — and many other states — cities have weaponized housing policies to perpetuate segregation and to exclude people from neighborhoods and schools. Molly Parker, ProPublica, "My Home Is a Place That Feels Safe. For Too Many Families, That’s Not the Case.," 20 Dec. 2019 Harris took the lead in the confrontation, referencing her own childhood experiences with segregation. Soraya Chemaly, Glamour, "Kamala Harris Won't Be on Tonight's Debate Stage. No Matter Who You Support, That Should Matter to You," 19 Dec. 2019 An anti-segregation activist such as Rosa Parks is reduced to a humble seamstress who was too tired to give up her seat on the bus. Victor Luckerson, The New Yorker, "The Great Achievement of “Watchmen” Is in Showing How Black Americans Shape History," 13 Dec. 2019 That task force also is charged with determining just how the current law has and hasn’t addressed Chicago’s long-standing racial and economic segregation. Lolly Bowean,, "Advocates push ‘Development for All’ ordinance to increase Chicago’s affordable housing options," 11 Dec. 2019 Each vignette, inspired by historical events, draws a line from segregation to today. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "P&G Releases Their 2019 Citizenship Report," 10 Dec. 2019 Correction Commissioner Rollin Cook has said his department has already reduced segregation at Manson and made other improvements after the child advocate’s findings. Josh Kovner,, "State may need a new agency to handle detention of minors," 21 Nov. 2019 Social media meets segregation Is TikTok specifically responsible for the rise in digital blackface? Brianna Holt, Quartzy, "Teens on TikTok have no clue they’re perpetuating racist stereotypes," 1 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for segregation

Time Traveler

The first known use of segregation was in 1555

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Statistics for segregation

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Segregation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for segregation


How to pronounce segregation (audio)

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 How to pronounce segregation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce segregation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce segregation (audio) \

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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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