di·​as·​po·​ra | \ dī-ˈa-sp(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 The red, black, and green colors of the candles represent the people of the African diaspora, our blood, and our hope for the future, respectively. Riche Holmes Grant, Better Homes & Gardens, "Food, Decor, Traditions: The Meaningful Ways My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa," 19 Nov. 2020 Over the decades, celebrants have increasingly introduced food of the African diaspora to their feasts, such as Southern soul food and Caribbean dishes. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, "Everything to Know About Kwanzaa Food, From What It Is to What It Means," 6 Nov. 2020 The show presents a primer, too, on the links between hip-hop and Afrofuturism, the aesthetic philosophy that combines cultural features of the African diaspora with futuristic technology. Washington Post, "From Basquiat to ‘Black Panther’: How graffiti went mainstream," 27 Oct. 2020 President Donald Trump said Friday his administration is working with Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, citing the size of the Armenian diaspora in the U.S. Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Says He Aims to Help Armenia in Azerbaijan Conflict," 23 Oct. 2020 The last portrait is of Angela Yvonne Davis — scholar, activist and the only surviving hero of the global African diaspora. Nelson George Photographs By John Edmonds, New York Times, "Angela Davis," 19 Oct. 2020 The bulk of the Somali diaspora settled in Minnesota in the 1990s and early 2000s, and Trump has repeatedly singled out people from Somalia in his criticism of refugees. Maya Rao, Star Tribune, "Presidential election weighs heavily on Minnesota immigrants, 'dreamers' and refugees," 19 Oct. 2020 But the death of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans is in large part responsible for the creation of the diaspora. Amy Kellogg, Fox News, "Century-old genocide looms large for Armenians as Turkey weighs in on Nagorno-Karabakh," 7 Oct. 2020 As a Black man born in the diaspora, our ground zero tends to be slavery. Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times, "Marlon James talks about the roots of Black fiction," 27 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for diaspora

Time Traveler

The first known use of diaspora was in 1594

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Statistics for diaspora

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diaspora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diaspora. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for diaspora


How to pronounce diaspora (audio)

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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