/dis plays"meuhnt/, n.1. the act of displacing.2. the state of being displaced or the amount or degree to which something is displaced.3. Physics.a. the displacing in space of one mass by another.b. the weight or the volume of fluid displaced by a floating or submerged body. Cf. Archimedes' principle.c. the linear or angular distance in a given direction between a body or point and a reference position.d. the distance of an oscillating body from its central position or point of equilibrium at any given moment.4. Mach., Auto.a. the volume of the space through which a piston travels during a single stroke in an engine, pump, or the like.b. the total volume of the space traversed by all the pistons.5. Naut. the amount of water that a vessel displaces, expressed in displacement tons.6. Geol. the offset of rocks caused by movement along a fault.7. Psychoanal. the transfer of an emotion from its original focus to another object, person, or situation.8. See electric displacement.[1605-15; DISPLACE + -MENT]
* * *in mechanics, distance moved by a particle or body in a specific direction. In the figure—>, A is the initial position of a point, B is the final position, and the straight line directed from A to B is the displacement. The distance traveled by the point depends on the path that it follows; it will be equal to the magnitude of the displacement only if the path is straight. In mechanics, it is frequently necessary to distinguish between the distance that a point moves—or through which a force acts—and the displacement of the point or the force. Displacement is a vector quantity because it has both magnitude and direction.
* * *