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 President Joe Biden didn't commit to nixing the Senate filibuster rule despite agreeing with former President Barack Obama that the procedure was a relic of Jim Crow segregation laws. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden parrots Obama in calling Senate filibuster a 'relic of Jim Crow'," 25 Mar. 2021 Minnesota Freedom Rider Claire O'Connor, a white woman, joined the struggle to destroy segregation laws. Alicia Eler, Star Tribune, "Minnesota History Center throws a big party for Women's History Month," 19 Mar. 2021 Within ten years, the principles vindicated in Brown were successfully deployed to challenge segregation laws in the United States. Sherrilyn Ifill, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Thurgood Marshall Paved the Road to ‘Brown v. Board of Education’," 10 Mar. 2021 His childhood was littered with evidence of the ways discriminatory racial segregation laws created disparate living conditions among South Africans. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "This South African Artist’s House Is Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before," 17 Feb. 2021 Never has so much been riding on an athlete in surroundings as unforgiving as the Deep South in 1946, where racial discrimination was legal and brutally enforced, and where Blacks who confronted segregation laws could be jailed, beaten, or murdered. Chris Lamb, USA TODAY, "The first trip to spring training: A Jackie Robinson story you may not know from 75 years ago," 17 Feb. 2021 During the civil rights movement, Gray successfully argued several key cases, including Browder v. Gayle, which challenged that the segregation laws in Montgomery that led to the bus boycott was unconstitutional. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Alabama Bar president asks Biden to give Medal of Freedom to civil rights attorney Fred Gray," 12 Feb. 2021 That spurred a bus boycott led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and eventually culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bus segregation was unconstitutional. Aamer Madhani, ajc, "VP Harris sits at counter where Greensboro Four made history," 19 Apr. 2021 These workforce trends can be traced back to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional. Ain Grooms, The Conversation, "How race-related stress could be driving educators of color away from the job," 13 Apr. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Segregation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 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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