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

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 Each country has its own specialties and the diasporas mean numerous restaurants across the host cities. James Ellingworth, Fox News, "Dining Russian-style at the World Cup," 7 June 2018 Men and women from the Irish diaspora and both sides of the debate have posted about their journeys home on social media under the hashtag #HomeToVote, sharing photos and stories from airports, planes, cars and trains. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN, "Irish across world travel #HomeToVote in landmark abortion referendum," 24 May 2018 Almost a third of Salvadorans currently live in the U.S., more than 2 million from a country of 6.3 million, a diaspora fueled by civil war, natural disasters and grinding poverty. Martha Mendoza, Fox News, "Salvadoran town deeply rooted in DC unfazed by US politics," 21 Aug. 2018 In modern times, these camps have come to serve as a stabilizing force in a diffuse diaspora, forging links between far-flung Jewish communities and facilitating a fun, if not aggressively gendered, form of Jewish socialization. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 Hendrix conjured phenomenal moments from the African diaspora in his own right. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Jimi Hendrix’s ‘experience’ in Morocco made my own more powerful," 15 Oct. 2018 This year’s theme is inspired by the African diaspora in Brazil, so expect to hear a few samba beats. Don’t have a mask? Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Police violence paintings, a gallery's 25th and enduring images of a photojournalist's life," 21 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

2 Jan 2019

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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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Comments on diaspora

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