di·​as·​po·​ra | \ dī-ˈas-p(ə-)rə How to pronounce diaspora (audio) , dē-\

Definition of diaspora

1 capitalized, Judaism

a : the Jews living outside Palestine or modern Israel members of the Diaspora
b : the settling of scattered colonies of Jews outside ancient Palestine after the Babylonian exile
c : the area outside ancient Palestine settled by Jews
2a : people settled far from their ancestral homelands members of the African diaspora
b : the place where these people live
c : the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland the black diaspora to northern cities

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Other Words from diaspora

diasporic \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈspȯr-​ik How to pronounce diasporic (audio) \ adjective

The Beginnings of the Word Diaspora

Until recently diaspora was thought to be a fairly new word in English to describe a very old thing (its first, and principal, meaning relates to the settling of the Jewish people outside of Palestine after the Babylonian exile thousands of years ago). However, recent research has found that the word is quite a bit older than previously thought. It can be found as far back as 1594, in a translation of Lambert Daneau’s A Fruitfull Commentarie vpon the Twelue Small Prophets: “This scattering abrode of the Iewes, as it were an heauenly sowing, fell out after their returne from the captiuitie of Babylon … they are called Diaspora, that is, a scattering or sowing abrode.” Diaspora is descended from the Greek word diaspeirein, meaning “to scatter, spread about.”

Examples of diaspora in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Don’t miss the Bank of the Nile food area, which sells dishes from across the African diaspora: think egusi soup from Nigeria, jollof rice from Senegal, jerk-style proteins from the Caribbean, and Cajun flavors from closer to home. Antonio Basada, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Things to Do in Chicago This Labor Day," 31 Aug. 2018 There were years of subsequent debate about balancing the interests of liberal and Orthodox Jews, of Israel and the diaspora. Abraham Riesman, Daily Intelligencer, "Can Rabbi Rick Jacobs Save Liberal Zionism in the Age of Netanyahu?," 9 Apr. 2018 The Netherlands has said extortion and threats of force against its large Eritrean diaspora is a sensitive issue that is high on the country’s political agenda. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "UN lifts sanctions on Eritrea, keeps arms embargo on Somalia," 14 Nov. 2018 The Pacific islands, lost in the empty ocean, came late in our diaspora. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book," 18 Oct. 2018 More than a million Venezuelans have fled the nation in recent years amid hyperinflation, hunger and a broad economic collapse that has created a global diaspora of the disillusioned. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Venezuelan exiles in Peru seize summit as chance to turn screws on Maduro," 12 Apr. 2018 The collection carries the voices of indigenous Americans as well as those of the global diaspora that many believe is America’s glory. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Women of color 'Sing' proudly in new essay collection," 5 Feb. 2018 For one thing, Noah argues, the French model erases the positive pride that Africans, both on the continent and in the diaspora, feel in their common heritage. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Trevor Noah’s feud with France over race, identity, and Africa — explained," 19 July 2018 The relationship between Israel and the diaspora is at an inflection point, in Mr. Sharansky’s view. New York Times, "From Jewish Saint, to Israeli Politician, to Diaspora’s Ally," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diaspora.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of diaspora

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for diaspora

Greek, dispersion, from diaspeirein to scatter, from dia- + speirein to sow

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Statistics for diaspora

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for diaspora

The first known use of diaspora was in 1594

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English Language Learners Definition of diaspora

formal : a group of people who live outside the area in which they had lived for a long time or in which their ancestors lived

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Comments on diaspora

What made you want to look up diaspora? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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