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

Other Words from diaspora

diasporic \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈspȯr-​ik How to pronounce diaspora (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 But a diaspora of All Saints relics have found after-lives elsewhere. New York Times, 24 Dec. 2021 Inventory lists tend to look similar throughout the diaspora: Irish Spring soap. Sara Tardiff, The Atlantic, 24 Dec. 2021 Still, memory hates a vacuum, and absence itself has become a powerful symbol among Chinese dissidents and the diaspora. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, 23 Dec. 2021 Sisters of the Yam, originally published in 1993, presented Black women throughout the diaspora with a link between self-healing and political resistance. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 The diaspora of hundreds of thousands of students and scholars overseas poses a challenge for China. Haruka Sakaguchi, ProPublica, 30 Nov. 2021 Belonging to a diaspora often requires you to find bridges that connect you to that which was left behind. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Memories of that culture would linger elsewhere through a vast and expansive diaspora. Shafi Musaddique, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Nov. 2021 The trips, partly funded by the Israeli government, are meant to bond Jews in the diaspora to Israel and to bolster Jewish identity. New York Times, 22 Dec. 2021

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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The first known use of diaspora was in 1594

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Last Updated

4 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Diaspora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diaspora. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for diaspora



English Language Learners Definition of diaspora

: 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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