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

Some of those concerns were documented in a 2017 report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General, including possible misuse of segregation. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "ICE review found failures in care of mentally ill detainee who died by suicide," 22 Aug. 2019 Our highway planning was borne from a shameful history of racial segregation. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "I can’t wrap my feeble American brain around this massive bike parking garage in the Netherlands," 20 Aug. 2019 Cooper’s seminal text, A Voice From the South: By a Black Woman of the South, addressed issues including educational disparities, women’s suffrage, representations of black women in literature, and the pernicious effects of segregation. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Black Suffragettes Subverted the Domestic Sphere," 18 Aug. 2019 When the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling against school segregation, black children began attending formerly all-white schools. Talia Richman,, "More mentors, more support: Group presents ideas for increasing number of black teachers in Baltimore schools," 20 June 2019 The age was characterized by imperial wars, an epidemic of rape and lynching, the emergence of the legal and social apparatus of racial segregation, and antiblack racial laws that inspired the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws. Longreads, "A Minor Figure," 20 July 2019 Despite the restrictions of segregation, Bartholomew rose to become a pop music icon, said the Rev. Tony Ricard, who led the funeral mass and joined in the spirited dancing on the church steps as the crowd followed the casket outside afterward. Washington Post, "Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Dave Bartholomew laid to rest," 8 July 2019 Georgia’s Herman Talmadge and Mississippi’s James Eastland—both ardent defenders of segregation. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "America, We Need to Talk," 20 June 2019 According to the religious segregation of Belfast, the Shankill Road was (and remains) Protestant territory. Kevin Dettmar, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Moon Landing in Ireland, at the Start of the Troubles," 20 July 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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Statistics for segregation

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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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 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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