di·​as·​po·​ra | \dī-ˈas-p(ə-)rə, 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 \ 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

Homan Mohammadi, a 26-year-old recent graduate of Harvard Business School who lives in Cambridge, said the Iranian diaspora is far from cohesive. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "In Cambridge, World Cup brings a jubilant reprieve for local Iranians," 16 June 2018 While most of the participants in the festival’s Armenian program live in the Republic of Armenia, a small country situated in between the Middle East and Eastern Europe, others are from the diaspora community. Max Kutner, Smithsonian, "These Soulful, Soothing Armenian Song and Instrumentals Blend East with West," 28 June 2018 California is home to some of the largest populations of ethnic minorities and diaspora communities in the country. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Kamala Harris is coming to Puerto Rico's aid. Will Puerto Ricans in Florida return the favor?," 25 June 2018 Keith Ape is a member of 88 Rising, a media company that champions Asian artists from across the diaspora and facilitates collaboration with the Black artists that inspire their music. Andrew Chow, refinery29.com, "Let's Be Real: Asian And Black Artists Aren't "Celebrating" Each Other Through Hip-Hop," 22 May 2018 And so another Puerto Rican culinary legend has left a hole in the bicultural paradox of the diaspora’s need to feel connected in our world of ni de aqui, ni de alla. Illyanna Maisonet, San Francisco Chronicle, "The quest to preserve Puerto Rican culture with food," 21 May 2018 So my experience with music is full of the African diaspora. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Aloe Blacc on 'America's Musical Journey' Doc, His Forthcoming Album & Unreleased Songs With Avicii," 20 June 2018 DeKnight’s food column was a treasure trove of recipes, cooking tips, and cultural reflections from chefs across the vast expanse of the African diaspora. Hannah Giorgis, Bon Appetit, "How Freda DeKnight’s Cookbook, ‘A Date with a Dish’ Inspired Generations of Black Cooks," 19 June 2018 The emergence of two permanent poles of Jewish life—one in Israel and one in the diaspora—offers new possibilities but also presents new challenges. William A. Galston, WSJ, "The Fracturing of the Jewish People," 12 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

23 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for diaspora

The first known use of diaspora was in 1594

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on diaspora

Nglish: Translation of diaspora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diaspora for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diaspora

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