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What does Apartheid mean in American Law?

The definition of Apartheid in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

An Afrikaans (i.e., South African Dutch) word meaning “apartness,” denominating the South African governmental policy of strictly segregating (and almost totally subordinating) non-white residents of South Africa.

Definition of Apartheid

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Apartheid: A policy of racial segregation maintained in South Africa from 1948 to 1991. The policy established the doctrine of ‘separate development’ whereby South African blacks were segregated into reserves known as ‘homelands’ and subjected to residential and occupational restrictions. Apartheid was maintained by a wide range of laws that included the prohibition of inter-racial sexual intercourse or marriage and outlawed racially integrated political and social organizations. A white-minority government, faced with international pressures and internal conflict, began the process of dismantling apartheid in the late 1980’s and eventually extended the right to vote on equal terms to all South African adults. A subsequent election in 1994 installed South Africa’s first Black majority government led by Nelson Mandela.

Apartheid: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Apartheid. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Apartheid

(You may find apartheid at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

1947 (the policy was officially begun 1948), “segregation of European from non-European people,” from Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally “separateness,” from Dutch apart “separate” (from French àpart; see apart) + suffix -heid, which is cognate (having the same ancestor) with 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]


Legal English Vocabulary: Apartheid in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term apartheid into Spanish: apartheid (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus

Definition of Apartheid

In relation to social issues, a meaning of apartheid is provided here: policy of separation of the races enforced by law


See Also

  • Community
  • Collective Right
  • Society
  • Public Law
  • Collective Right
  • Society
  • Public Law

Hierarchical Display of Apartheid

Law > Rights and freedoms > Anti-discriminatory measure > Racial discrimination

Meaning of Apartheid

Overview and more information about Apartheid

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Translation of Apartheid

Thesaurus of Apartheid

Law > Rights and freedoms > Anti-discriminatory measure > Racial discrimination > Apartheid

See also


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