Displacement occurs when one party unfairly or inappropriately replaces another. If you arrive at work to find someone else sitting at your desk, you might want to complain to your boss about your recent displacement.

Displacement can be a depressing topic, given that it often involves people being forced to leave somewhere where they belong. However, for a more cheerful take on this word, put your foot in the bathtub and watch the water level rise. Scientifically speaking, your foot is causing displacement of the water. It was this observation that led Archimedes to develop his famous principle about buoyancy (and, perhaps more famously, to run through the streets naked in celebration).

Definitions of displacement
  1. noun
    the act of moving something from its natural environment
    synonyms: deracination
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    type of:
    the act of changing the location of something
  2. noun
    an event in which something is displaced without rotation
    synonyms: shift
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    (physics) the maximum displacement of a periodic wave
    displacement or misalignment of a joint or organ
    partial displacement of a joint or organ
    type of:
    a uniform movement without rotation
  3. noun
    act of taking the place of another especially using underhanded tactics
    synonyms: supplanting
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    type of:
    replacement, replacing
    the act of furnishing an equivalent person or thing in the place of another
  4. noun
    act of removing from office or employment
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    type of:
    the act of rejecting something
  5. noun
    (chemistry) a reaction in which an elementary substance displaces and sets free a constituent element from a compound
    synonyms: displacement reaction
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    type of:
    chemical reaction, reaction
    (chemistry) a process in which one or more substances are changed into others
  6. noun
    (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one
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    (psychoanalysis) the process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another; during psychoanalysis the displacement of feelings toward others (usually the parents) is onto the analyst
    the psychoanalyst's displacement of emotion onto the patient or more generally the psychoanalyst's emotional involvement in the therapeutic interaction
    type of:
    defence, defence mechanism, defence reaction, defense, defense mechanism, defense reaction
    (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
  7. noun
    the act of uniform movement
    synonyms: translation
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    type of:
    motion, move, movement
    the act of changing location from one place to another
Word Family
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