1. The dispersion of Jews outside of Israel from the sixth century BC, when they were exiled to Babylonia, until the present time.
2. often diaspora The body of Jews or Jewish communities outside Palestine or modern Israel.
a. A dispersion of a people from their original homeland.
b. The community formed by such a people: "the glutinous dish known throughout the [West African] diaspora as ... fufu" (Jonell Nash).
4. diaspora A dispersion of an originally homogeneous entity, such as a language or culture: "the diaspora of English into several mutually incomprehensible languages" (Randolph Quirk).
[Greek diasporā, dispersion, from diaspeirein, to spread about : dia-, apart; see DIA- + speirein, to sow, scatter; see sper- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
di·aspo·ric, di·aspo·ral adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.