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dis·​play di-ˈsplā How to pronounce display (audio)
displayed; displaying; displays

transitive verb

: to place or spread (something) for people to see
The gallery displays the work of local artists.
It also comes with a wooden wall mount so you can proudly display it in your living room.Nathan Donkor
If the system displays an error message, you may need to adjust your settings …Andy Wolber
also : to serve as a place for displaying (something)
… a … shop window displaying shimmering silk scarves … Ute Junker
As the robot worked, a screen displayed its progress. Dominic Rushe
: to make (an emotion, quality, skill, etc.) evident
displayed great skill
displayed an interest in music
She displayed no emotion upon hearing the news.
: to exhibit conspicuously and usually in an ostentatious manner
displayed their wealth
He liked to display his extensive knowledge of Greek mythology.
obsolete : descry

intransitive verb

: to make a breeding (see breeding sense 4) display
During the mating season king penguins displayed with potential partners: closing their eyes, stretching their heads skyward and moving them in a half-circle to "take peeks" at one another.Ella Davies
: to be visible or make something visible (as on the screen of a digital device)
… a rearview camera that displays on the navigation screen when he backs up …Anita Hamilton
This system would allow the computer to display on the television for multimedia presentations …Kellie B. Gormly
obsolete : show off
displayable adjective
displayable images


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often attributive
: a setting or presentation of something in open view
a fireworks display
: a clear sign or evidence : exhibition
a display of courage
: ostentatious show
worldly display
: an eye-catching arrangement by which something is exhibited
a display of artifacts
merchandise in a window display
often used with on
her early paintings are currently on display
: an electronic device (such as a LCD) or part of a device (such as the screen of a tablet) that presents information in visual form
a temperature display
also : the visual information presented
: type (see type entry 1 sense 2), composition, or printing designed to catch the eye
zoology : a pattern of behavior exhibited especially by male birds in the breeding season
Choose the Right Synonym for display

show, exhibit, display, expose, parade, flaunt mean to present so as to invite notice or attention.

show implies no more than enabling another to see or examine.

showed her snapshots to the whole group

exhibit stresses putting forward prominently or openly.

exhibit paintings at a gallery

display emphasizes putting in a position where others may see to advantage.

display sale items

expose suggests bringing forth from concealment and displaying.

sought to expose the hypocrisy of the town fathers

parade implies an ostentatious or arrogant displaying.

parading their piety for all to see

flaunt suggests a shameless, boastful, often offensive parading.

nouveaux riches flaunting their wealth

Examples of display in a Sentence

Verb Students displayed their projects at the science fair. Toys were displayed in the store window. Her awards are prominently displayed on the mantel. The museum displays relics found during the excavation of the site. He displayed no emotion when I told him the news. I was impressed by the care she displayed in making the flower arrangements. The rookie player displayed great skill. The company has displayed exceptional dedication to this community. Noun The library's current display features locally made crafts. Her trophies are in a display case. The celebration ended with a spectacular fireworks display. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Many of us want to see information displayed in a visual way. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Impress your guests by placing a framed menu displaying the details of your dinner party at each seat. Sarah Lemire, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 Nov. 2023 The statuettes, displayed in a floor-to-ceiling display case off the workshop’s main lobby alongside miniature collectibles Wētā Workshop created for films and other projects, have all had their nameplates removed. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2023 One displays the concluding tribute the Earl Spencer gave at Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, and the other features a quote from Diana about her deep love for charitable work. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 When displayed together, the varying heights will add visual interest to your decor. Addie Morton, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 These are one-of-a-kind pieces displaying some of the best work watchmaking can offer by living hands. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 27 Nov. 2023 Find it on Amazon Make Your Phone a Polaroid Camera With a Wireless Mini Printer Capture and display your favorite memories effortlessly with the Wireless Mini Printer, a game-changer that brings the convenience of instant photo printing to the palm of your hand. Poppy Morgan, Rolling Stone, 27 Nov. 2023 The clue package displayed a bride, sneakers, boxing gloves and the Charging Bull. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023
Improvements in design, display quality, and device compatibility mark it as a significant upgrade over its predecessor. Charlie Fink, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 This is another display to warn off potential threats. Craig Caudill, Field & Stream, 30 Nov. 2023 There’s also a private dining room and a Raw Bar with a display kitchen. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 30 Nov. 2023 First lady Jill Biden on Wednesday unveiled an ice rink on the White House South Lawn as a part of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's holiday display. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 29 Nov. 2023 But no physical wire connects that box (and ultimately your streaming or gaming devices) to the actual display. Popular Science, 29 Nov. 2023 The elves were stuck to silver foil plates to represent their sleds, while the display was also covered in cotton balls to depict snow. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 But Valve hasn't forgotten about users who are still stuck using that old LCD display. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 17 Nov. 2023 This one has a pull-out display that slides back in as needed, so large plates or bowls won’t obstruct their view. Melanie Fincher, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'display.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English desplaien, displaien, displeien "to unfurl (a banner), spread (the arms), reveal, expound," borrowed from Anglo-French despleier, desplaier, desploier, deplaier "to unfurl, set out to view, reveal, expound" (continental Old French desploier), probably from des- dis- + pleier, ploier "to fold, bend" — more at ply entry 3

Note: Compare deploy. Older references see this verb as an outcome of Latin displicāre, attested in the classical corpus only in Varro's Res rusticae, where it appears to mean "scatter, disperse." In Late Latin, the verb appears once in the sense "explain, expound" in the sermons of Gregory the Great on the book of Ezekiel. Apparent cognates outside Gallo-Romance are probably of secondary origin: Italian dispiegare "to spread out, deploy" may be a derivative of spiegare "to unfold, explain," perhaps modeled on Old French desploier (spiegare itself and synonymous Engadine Romansh splajer are from Latin explicāre—see explicate); and Spanish desplegar "to spread, open out" appears to be a learned formation.


derivative of display entry 1

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of display was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near display

Cite this Entry

“Display.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/display. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
dis·​play dis-ˈplā How to pronounce display (audio)
: to put in plain view
display the flag
the results displayed on a computer screen
display toys in a store window
: to make clear the existence or presence of : make a display of
display anger


2 of 2 noun
: a showing of something
: an electronic device (as a cathode-ray tube in a computer or radar receiver) that gives information in visual form
also : the visual information
: overdone or unnecessary show
: an attractive exhibition

More from Merriam-Webster on display

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