from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
  • n. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
  • n. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The policy of racial separation used in South Africa from 1948 to 1990.
  • n. Any similar policy of racial separation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. segregation by race; -- a term used in South Africa.
  • n. the official policy of strict segregation by race practised by the government of the Union of South Africa up to 1993.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a social policy or racial segregation involving political and economic and legal discrimination against people who are not Whites; the former official policy in South Africa


Afrikaans : Dutch apart, separate (from French à part, apart; see apart) + Dutch -heid, -hood.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally “separateness”, “apartness”, from Dutch apart ("separate") + suffix -heid, cognate of English -hood. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 947 Cape Times 24 Oct. 7/7 Mr. Hofmeyr said apartheid could not be reconciled with a policy of progress and prosperity for South Africa.

    June 18, 2008