Distance vs. Displacement

Main Difference

The main difference between distance and displacement is that the distance is the actual physical length between two points while displacement is the length of the shortest route between these two points.

Distance vs. Displacement — Is There a Difference?
ADVERTISEMENT

Difference Between Distance and Displacement

Distance vs. Displacement

Distance is the length of the actual path between two points while the shortest path between these two points is known as displacement.

Distance vs. Displacement

Arrow cannot be used to indicate distance while displacement can be indicated by simply drawing an arrow.

Distance vs. Displacement

Distance is a scalar quantity whereas displacement is a vector quantity.

Distance vs. Displacement

Distance is always positive while displacement may be positive, negative or even zero.

Distance vs. Displacement

“S” is used to denote distance but “d” is used to denote displacement.

Distance vs. Displacement

Displacement can be measured by multiplying speed and time whereas displacement can find out by multiplying velocity and time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Distance vs. Displacement

Complete information of the route is given by distance while displacement does not provide any information about the route.

Distance vs. Displacement

Speed can find out from the distance while displacement is used to find out velocity.

Distancenoun

(countable) The amount of space between two points, usually geographical points, usually (but not necessarily) measured along a straight line.

The distance to Petersborough is thirty miles.From Moscow, the distance is relatively short to Saint Petersburg, relatively long to Novosibirsk, but even greater to Vladivostok.

Displacementnoun

The act of displacing, or the state of being displaced; a putting out of place.

Distancenoun

Length or interval of time.

Displacementnoun

The quantity of anything, as water, displaced by a floating body, as by a ship, the weight of the displaced liquid being equal to that of the displacing body.

ADVERTISEMENT

Distancenoun

The difference; the subjective measure between two quantities.

We're narrowing the distance between the two versions of the bill.The distance between the lowest and next gear on my bicycle is annoying.

Displacementnoun

(chemistry) The process of extracting soluble substances from organic material and the like, whereby a quantity of saturated solvent is displaced, or removed, for another quantity of the solvent.

Distancenoun

Remoteness of place; a remote place.

Displacementnoun

(fencing) Moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging.

Distancenoun

Remoteness in succession or relation.

the distance between a descendant and his ancestor

Displacementnoun

(physics) A vector quantity which denotes distance with a directional component.

Distancenoun

A space marked out in the last part of a racecourse.

Displacementnoun

(grammar) The capability of a communication system to refer to things that are not present (that existed or will exist at another time, or that exist at another location).

Distancenoun

The entire amount of progress to an objective.

He had promised to perform this task, but did not go the distance.

Displacementnoun

an event in which something is displaced without rotation

Distancenoun

A withholding of intimacy; alienation; variance.

The friendship did not survive the row: they kept each other at a distance.

Displacementnoun

act of taking the place of another especially using underhanded tactics

Distancenoun

The remoteness or reserve which respect requires; hence, respect; ceremoniousness.

Displacementnoun

the act of uniform movement

Distanceverb

(transitive) To move away (from) someone or something.

He distanced himself from the comments made by some of his colleagues.

Displacementnoun

(chemistry) a reaction in which an elementary substance displaces and sets free a constituent element from a compound

Distanceverb

(transitive) To leave at a distance; to outpace, leave behind.

Displacementnoun

(psychiatry) a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one

Distancenoun

the property created by the space between two objects or points

Displacementnoun

to move something from its natural environment

Distancenoun

a distant region;

I could see it in the distance

Displacementnoun

act of removing from office or employment

Distancenoun

size of the gap between two places;

the distance from New York to Chicagohe determined the length of the shortest line segment joining the two points

Distancenoun

indifference by personal withdrawal;

emotional distance

Distancenoun

the interval between two times;

the distance from birth to deathit all happened in the space of 10 minutes

Distancenoun

a remote point in time;

if that happens it will be at some distance in the futureat a distance of ten years he had forgotten many of the details

Distanceverb

keep at a distance;

we have to distance ourselves from these events in order to continue living

Distanceverb

go far ahead of;

He outdistanced the other runners

Comparison Chart

DistanceDisplacement
The actual length of the path between two points is known as the distance.The shortest path between two points is known as displacement.
Quantity
It is a scalar quantity.It is a vector quantity.
Information about route
It provides complete information about the route being followed.It does not provide any information about the route.
Value
Its value is always positive.Its value may be positive, negative or zero.
Path
It does not have a specific path.It has a unique path.
Time
Distance cannot decrease with timeDisplacement can decrease with time.
Denoted by
Sd
Formula
S = Speed × Timed = Velocity × Time
Indication
It can never be indicated by the arrow.It can be indicated by the arrow.
Use
It can be used to calculate speed.It can be used to calculate velocity.

Distance vs. Displacement

Distance and displacement are two terms in Physics which are used to indicate the length between two locations, points or objects. Distance is the numerical measurement of actual length between two objects. It is a scalar quantity and is always positive. While displacement is the shortest path between two objects. It is a vector quantity and may be positive negative or zero. The SI unit of both distance and displacement is a meter (m).

What is Distance?

Distance is defined as the numerical quantity that determines the actual length between two points. Total distance can be calculated by adding all the intervals. It is only concerned with size or magnitude and ignores the direction of the path. So, it is a scalar quantity. Distance is always positive and provides complete information about the path. It always increases with time. It cannot be indicated by drawing an arrow. Distance can be calculated by multiplying the speed of the moving object with time. It is denoted by “S”.

Formula

Distance = Speed × Time or S = v × t

Example

If a person moves from a point A 5m towards the right and then 4m towards the left to reach a point B then total distance can be obtained by adding both intervals, i.e. S= 5+4 =9 So, the total distance covered by the person is 9 meters.

What is Displacement?

Displacement is defined as the length of the shortest path between two points. It is actually changing in position and mostly in a straight line. Displacement is concerned with both the magnitude and direction of the path. So, it is a vector quantity. It does not provide any information about the route and its value may be positive, negative or even zero. It is changing in a position that matters not the route. So, if the change in position is zero than displacement will be zero. A change to the left is indicated by negative value e.g. -2m while a change to the right will be indicated by a positive value e.g. 2m. Displacement can be indicated easily by simply drawing an arrow. Displacement can be counted by multiplying velocity and time. It is denoted by “d”

Formula

Displacement = velocity × time or d = v × t

Example

If a person travels 5m towards the north and then 5m towards the south than the displacement will be zero because same distance but in opposite directions will cancel out each other.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is concluded that distance is a scalar quantity to measure exact space between two points while displacement is a vector quantity to measure the shortest path between these two points.