verb dis·place \ (ˌ)dis-ˈplās , di-ˈsplās \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of displace

1 a : to remove from the usual or proper place; specifically : to expel or force to flee from home or homeland
  • displaced persons
b : to remove from an office, status, or job
c obsolete : to drive out : banish
2 a : to move physically out of position
  • a floating object displaces water
b : to take the place of (as in a chemical reaction) : supplant


play \-ˈplā-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of displace in a Sentence

  1. The war has displaced thousands of people.

  2. The hurricane displaced most of the town's residents.

  3. The closing of the factory has displaced many workers.

  4. farming practices that displace large amounts of soil

Recent Examples of displace from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'displace.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of displace

probably from Middle French desplacer, from des- dis- + place place

Synonym Discussion of displace

replace, displace, supplant, supersede mean to put out of a usual or proper place or into the place of another. replace implies a filling of a place once occupied by something lost, destroyed, or no longer usable or adequate.
    • replaced the broken window
displace implies an ousting or dislodging.
    • war had displaced thousands
supplant implies either a dispossessing or usurping of another's place, possessions, or privileges or an uprooting of something and its replacement with something else.
    • was abruptly supplanted in her affections by another
supersede implies replacing a person or thing that has become superannuated, obsolete, or otherwise inferior.
    • the new edition supersedes all previous ones

DISPLACE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of displace for English Language Learners

  • : to take the job or position of (someone or something)

  • : to force (people or animals) to leave the area where they live

  • : to remove (someone) from a job or position

DISPLACE Defined for Kids


verb dis·place \ dis-ˈplās \

Definition of displace for Students

displaced; displacing
1 : to remove from the usual or proper place
  • The fire displaced many forest animals.
2 : to take the place of : replace
  • Chess displaced checkers as his favorite game.
3 : to move out of position
  • A floating object displaces water.


\-mənt\ noun

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb dis·place \ (ˈ)dis-ˈplās \

medical Definition of displace

displaced; displacing
1 a : to remove from the usual or proper place
  • in heterotopia the gray portions of the cord are displaced so that patches of gray matter are scattered among the bundles of white fibers
  • —R. L. Cecil et al
b : to shift (an emotion or behavior) from a maladaptive or unacceptable object or form of outlet to a more adaptive or acceptable one
  • displace punishable behavior by directing it towards things that cannot punish
  • —B. F. Skinner
2 : to set free from chemical combination by taking the place of
  • zinc displaces the hydrogen of dilute acids
3 : to subject to percolation

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excessive admiration or flattery

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