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 In 2016, Mayor Libby Schaaf set a goal of protecting 17,000 households from displacement and building 17,000 new homes — both affordable and market rate — by 2024. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland collects fee for affordable housing, but funds go untracked," 10 Dec. 2019 Over the past year, a task force has gathered nearly 900 comments from community members, about half of which identified preventing small business displacement and supporting immigrant and minority-owned businesses as a priority. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "By St. Paul’s Allianz Field, a neighborly grants effort seeks committee members," 19 Nov. 2019 This argument undergirds the religious assimilative efforts of the original colonists, the displacement and the ensuing death marches, and the Allotment Era legislation that sought to chisel away at tribal lands piece by piece. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Next Standing Rock Is Everywhere," 7 Oct. 2019 The Tears of Things is a study in displacement and exile, individuals and landscapes recontextualized by anxiety. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Artist Enrique Martinez Celaya and Fiancee Erica Packer Host Opening of New L.A. Show," 16 Sep. 2019 The poems are interspersed with short prose passages about Native American displacement and her family. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "Joy Harjo, the Poet of American Memory," 29 Aug. 2019 But displacement of the attractions that occupy the buildings, potentially putting close to 100 jobs at risk, has been an issue. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "Tenant leases complicates Alamo makeover project in downtown San Antonio," 11 Nov. 2019 Mass displacement is having grave effects on public health. The Economist, "English-speaking villages are burning in Cameroon," 7 Nov. 2019 In the District’s case, however, that displacement has been transformative, because the city depends heavily on spending by suburbanites from Virginia and Maryland. Marc Fisher, Washington Post, "Joy in Mudville: How the Nats won D.C.’s heart — and what that tells America about Washington," 16 Oct. 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

19 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Displacement.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/displacement. Accessed 26 January 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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Comments on displacement

What made you want to look up displacement? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

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