dis·​place·​ment | \(ˌ)dis-ˈplā-smənt, di-ˈsplā-\

Definition of displacement 

1 : the act or process of displacing : the state of being displaced a storm that caused the displacement of thousands of people

2a physics : the volume or weight of a fluid (such as water) displaced (see displace sense 2a) by a floating body (such as a ship) of equal weight

b : the difference between the initial position of something (such as a body or geometric figure) and any later position

c mechanical engineering : the volume displaced by a piston (as in a pump or an engine) in a single stroke also, automotive vehicles : the total volume so displaced by all the pistons in an internal combustion engine

3 psychology

a : the redirection of an emotion or impulse from its original object (such as an idea or person) to another the displacement of his emotions

b : the substitution of another form of behavior for what is usual or expected especially when the usual response is nonadaptive or socially inappropriate

called also displacement activity, displacement behavior

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Examples of displacement in a Sentence

The war has caused the displacement of thousands of people. displacements in the Earth's crust soil displacement caused by farming
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Recent Examples on the Web

By 2012, Riley, then 41, started shopping a screenplay for a radical comedy about unions, displacement and the insidious effects of capitalism. Joseph Bien-kahn, WIRED, "Radical As Ever, Boots Riley Takes On the Tech Boom," 4 July 2018 Khetam Malkawi, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agencies in the Jordanian capital of Amman, said the ongoing fighting in Daraa has displaced 270,000 people — a sharp rise in the displacement numbers since the offensive began on June. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Jordan to talk to Russia as Syria fighting displaces 270,000," 2 July 2018 The vast majority of the displacements affected developing nations, and overwhelmingly consisted of people who fled their homes but remained inside their own country. Laignee Barron, Time, "A Record 68.5 Million People in the World Were Forcibly Displaced by the End of 2017, U.N. Says," 19 June 2018 The change of leadership could be fraught and could cause the displacement of civilians, however. New York Times, "U.S. and Turkey Agree on Kurds’ Withdrawal From Syrian Town," 4 June 2018 Through gentrification and the violence of displacement, anti-Blackness terraforms Black communities into white ones, and working-class communities into spaces for wealthy elites. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 Activists for low-income residents and communities of color said that they were blindsided by state Sen. Scott Wiener's proposal and that subsequent efforts by the senator to protect against potential displacement and gentrification were inadequate. Liam Dillon, latimes.com, "A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help. Here's how it went wrong," 2 May 2018 Hamas planned the protests against the Palestinian displacement resulting from Israel’s founding in 1948 to culminate with the date of U.S. embassy move. Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg.com, "Palestinians Seek Protection as Israel Blasts ‘Terrorist’ March," 1 Apr. 2018 Though most of the uprooted residents were subsistence farmers, some had produced enough that their displacement has cut food production and driven up prices in the region. Emmanuel Akinwotu, New York Times, "Nigeria’s Farmers and Herders Fight a Deadly Battle for Scarce Resources," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'displacement.' 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 displacement

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for displacement

see displace

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Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for displacement

The first known use of displacement was in 1611

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More Definitions for displacement


dis·​place·​ment | \-ˈplā-smənt \

Medical Definition of displacement 

1a : the act or process of removing something from its usual or proper place or the state resulting from this : dislocation the displacement of a knee joint

b : percolation sense 3

2 : the quantity in which or the degree to which something is displaced

3a : the redirection of an emotion or impulse from its original object (as an idea or person) to something that is more acceptable

b : sublimation sense 2

c : the substitution of another form of behavior for what is usual or expected especially when the usual response is nonadaptive

called also displacement activity, displacement behavior

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