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(in the Republic of South Africa) a rigid former policy of segregating and economically and politically oppressing the nonwhite population.
any system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, caste, etc.
(in South Africa) the official government policy of racial segregation; officially renounced in 1992

1947 (policy begun 1948), from Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally “separateness,” from Dutch apart “separate” (from French àpart; see apart) + suffix -heid, cognate of English -hood. The official English synonym was separate development (1955).

“Segregation” is such an active word that it suggests someone is trying to segregate someone else. So the word “apartheid” was introduced. Now it has such a stench in the nostrils of the world, they are referring to “autogenous development.” [Alan Paton, “New York Times,” Oct. 24, 1960]

apartheid [(uh-pahr-teyet, uh-pahr-tayt)]

The racist policy (see racism) of South Africa that long denied blacks and other nonwhites civic, social, and economic equality with whites. It was dismantled during the 1990s. (See Nelson Mandela.)


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