Apartheid \uh-PAHRT-heyt\ or \uh-PAHRT-hahyt\ , noun;
1. In the Republic of South Africa: A rigid policy of segregation of the nonwhite population
2. Any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.
The word apartheid was first attested in 1929 as an Afrikaans word for a South African socio-political concept. The official policy of racial segregation began in 1948 and lasted until 1994. Apartheid is literally "separateness" from Dutch apart + heid ("separate" + "-hood"). It is first attested in English 1947 in reference to the situation in Africa. Officially the English synonym is separate development, but that wasn't coined until 1955 and apartheid is definitely still used.
On November 30, 1973 the United Nations defined apartheid as "inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them." In 2002 the international community deemed it similar to crimes against humanity.