dis·​place·​ment | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈplā-smənt How to pronounce displacement (audio) , 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 Over the years, the CLT has been a key partner of ACCE’s, coming in with capital funds to empower rent strikers or aid members at risk of displacement. E. Tammy Kim, The New York Review of Books, "Moms 4 Housing: Redefining the Right to a Home in Oakland," 9 Mar. 2020 Nearly a million people have fled their homes since Dec. 1, when the latest government offensive began, in the biggest single wave of displacement since Syria’s civil war began nine years ago. Washington Post, "Russia-Turkey talks a last chance to avert Idlib calamity," 5 Mar. 2020 The offensive, which began Dec. 1, has triggered the largest single wave of displacement in Syria's nine-year war, sending nearly 950,000 people fleeing to areas near the Turkish border for safety. Author: Mehmet Guzel, Andrew Wilks, Anchorage Daily News, "Turkey threatens Europe with refugees after Syrian attack kills 33 troops," 28 Feb. 2020 The Syrian government’s military campaign to recapture Idlib province has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe and the war’s largest single wave of displacement. Andrew Wilks, BostonGlobe.com, "Syrian opposition fighters retake key town, cut highway," 27 Feb. 2020 No child should have to endure the trauma of displacement from not only their family, but their hometown as well, said Trent Rhorer, executive director of the county’s Human Services Agency. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "Want to be a parent? SF aims to recruit 100 foster families to keep kids in the city," 27 Feb. 2020 That’s the highest level of displacement since the country’s civil war broke out nine years ago. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "The Syrian conflict is again displacing record numbers of people," 12 Feb. 2020 Still, the threat of displacement consistently looms over communities of color, including the Asian American community. NBC News, "Asian Americans facing high risk of displacement mobilize to fight back," 8 Dec. 2019 One encampment under the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Pacoima provides a stark example of displacement. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Trump, the Taliban and the Camp David gambit," 9 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for displacement

Time Traveler

The first known use of displacement was in 1611

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Statistics for displacement

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Displacement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/displacement. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for displacement


How to pronounce displacement (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of displacement

: the act of forcing people or animals to leave the area where they live
: the movement of something from its original or regular position
technical : the amount of water that is moved by an object when it is placed in water


dis·​place·​ment | \ -ˈplā-smənt How to pronounce displacement (audio) \

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
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
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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