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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Both movies are studies in what the simultaneous interconnectedness and rivalry of East Asia and America mean for the diaspora that moves back and forth between the two. Ross Douthat, National Review, "The Farewell: A Restrained Deathbed Drama," 22 Aug. 2019 Like many other children of the Chinese diaspora, I am separated from my grandmother by four languages, three generations and two continents. Dallas News, "I'm not alone in my strange hunger: How 'The Farewell' reflects food and the Chinese-American family," 9 Aug. 2019 This movement had all these echoes of Hurricane Maria for those who lived through it here, and also for the diaspora. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Frustration Behind Puerto Rico’s Popular Movement," 26 July 2019 There's Eric Clapton’s Blackie; several guitars from Prince; Jerry Garcia’s main guitar, Tiger, and his other guitar, Wolf, either one of which would have likely served as a homing beacon for the Deadhead diaspora. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Long Live Rock: The Met’s (Other) New Exhibition Brings the Noise," 4 Apr. 2019 Most of the diaspora communities in the state have fled socialist dictatorships. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "The Fight for the Latino Vote in Florida," 16 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, the loudness of the Nigerian diaspora transforms victimhood into foreign policy, generating the reactions that have been witnessed recently. Gilbert M Khadiagala, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians aren’t targeted more than other Africans in South Africa’s xenophobic attacks but the damage is done," 12 Sep. 2019 Smith, now 51, is herself an Afrofuturist, reckoning the damages of the past and embracing the cultural richness of the African diaspora to imagine a better future. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At Mass MoCA, artist Cauleen Smith offers visions of black resilience," 29 Aug. 2019 The campaign was designed to boost Ghana’s tourism, while simultaneously reconnecting descendants of the African diaspora with the continent. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "What To Know About the ‘Year of Return’," 26 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for diaspora



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!