Difference Between Distance And Displacement With Examples

Distance Refers to the total length of the path traveled by an object, regardless of direction, typically measured in units such as meters or kilometers.

Displacement Represents the shortest straight-line distance between the initial and final positions of an object, considering direction, often measured in units like meters or kilometers, and can be positive, negative, or zero depending on the direction of motion.

Difference Between Distance And Displacement

Difference between distance and displacement:

Scalar Or Vector Quantity?

  • Distance is a scalar quantity that defines length numerically based on a system of units.
  • Displacement is a vector that indicates the position of a particle relative to a reference point.


For mathematics, distance is nothing more than the length, expressed numerically, between two points located in Euclidean space equivalent to the segment of the line that joins them. That is, distance is the numerical magnitude that reflects the length of the line that joins two points in space.

It is also defined as the shortest path between two points in more complex spaces.

Distance is also the absolute value of the difference between two real numbers.

For physics, distance is nothing more than a scalar magnitude expressed in units of length.

Formally, for a set of elements, a distance is defined by a mathematical function that meets a series of conditions among which stand out: It must not be negative, it must be symmetrical, and others.


For mechanics, displacement is the vector whose function is to define the position of a point or particle in relation to an origin O with respect to a position B. The vector extends from the point considered as a reference to the final position. For movement in space, only the initial and final position matters, since its trajectory is unimportant.

The displacement is a vector or straight segment that joins the initial position with some generic point on the object’s trajectory . By using the vector in this way the movement of a particle can be described.

When the origin of the coordinate system used is used as a reference point, the displacement vector is known as a position vector. Indicates the position by means of a straight line.


An example of distance would be walking 5 kilometers around a circular track, while an example of displacement would be walking 5 kilometers north from your starting point.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button