Definition of apartheid in English:



  • 1(in South Africa) a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.

    • ‘I was born in South Africa and under apartheid, if you were black, you were regarded as a terrorist.’
    • ‘Black people's struggle against apartheid in South Africa attracted immense worldwide solidarity.’
    • ‘It is the same story in every subsequent popular revolution, up to and including the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa.’
    • ‘Similar methods helped bring apartheid to an end in South Africa.’
    • ‘It was inspired by the economic boycotts that helped end apartheid in South Africa.’
    • ‘But apartheid, the system that dominated every aspect of South African life, is over.’
    • ‘Observers said it was the most momentous political development since the end of apartheid in South Africa.’
    • ‘I was part of the first Scottish educational mission to South Africa since apartheid was dismantled.’
    • ‘People are taking full advantage of the democratic spaces won against apartheid.’
    • ‘This was as part of a protest against South Africa's policy of apartheid.’
    • ‘Incredibly, a decade after the end of apartheid this system still exists.’
    • ‘Also arrested were dozens of former fighters in the struggle to liberate South Africa from apartheid.’
    • ‘The difference is that under apartheid that was the official policy of the Government.’
    • ‘An interesting point that Rose was quoted on in the Guardian was that he applied the same boycott to South Africa under apartheid.’
    • ‘Growing up in South Africa during apartheid, he has a clue about what it means to have minority groups in a society.’
    • ‘South Africa returned to the Commonwealth in 1994 after the policy of apartheid had been abandoned.’
    • ‘Never shy of taking risks, the series tackled such contentious issues as feminism and South African apartheid.’
    • ‘Would they copy the South African model and adopt a system of apartheid, based on skin colour?’
    • ‘I lived for many years in South Africa, during the dark days of apartheid.’
    • ‘We urgently need to build a solidarity movement on the scale of those against South African apartheid and the Vietnam War in the past.’
    prejudice, bias, bigotry, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, inequity, favouritism, one-sidedness, partisanship
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Segregation on grounds other than race.
      ‘sexual apartheid’
      • ‘Surely someone can tackle this sorry case of recycling apartheid.’
      • ‘Virtual apartheid is a fact of life in almost every urban school I visit nowadays.’
      • ‘How viable is the latter without a transformation to remove the economic apartheid that has outlived the political?’
      • ‘He is a virulent racist who wants racial apartheid in Austria's schools.’
      • ‘Every year, this educational apartheid was worsened as a new batch of entrants deserted the state sector.’
      • ‘If you haven't spoken to these people, it is hard to explain just how obsessed with sexual apartheid they are.’
      • ‘Perhaps the authorities are guiding us towards complete apartheid.’
      • ‘Yet of course it is they who practiced linguistic apartheid, and the system we propose which could bring this to an end.’
      • ‘It is apartheid and would be unthinkable in modern society were the segregation based on race or colour.’
      • ‘If children are educated separately then it's a kind of apartheid.’
      • ‘The leader of the moderate ATL teachers' union has condemned this as creating apartheid for refugee children.’
      • ‘They argue that more international attention is needed on what amounts to hidden apartheid.’
      • ‘Everyone in the country lives under a fierce system of sexual apartheid.’
      • ‘As a community we can remain largely in denial of apartheid in education.’
      • ‘Education apartheid in Limerick city is a scandal.’
      • ‘It would mean a permanent nuclear apartheid based not on the original deal, but on who could acquire a weapon.’
      • ‘I believed I knew all about social apartheid which existed in Brazil, until I read the book.’
      • ‘The marginalization of the poor countries created a state of global apartheid.’
      • ‘The segregation of women and sexual apartheid are seen as a desirable state for women in society.’
      • ‘There you have gender apartheid and segregation which is very discriminatory against girls and women.’


1940s: Afrikaans, literally separateness from Dutch apart separate + -heid (equivalent of -hood).