Explain the Difference Between Distance and Displacement

Displacement is the shortest path the body traverses compared to distance. The distance and displacement may be equal, but the displacement may be zero. Displacement can either be positive or negative, however, distance can never be negative. Displacement decreases as time passes, but the distance does not.

What is the Difference Between Distance and Displacement?


  • A displacement is measured in relation to a specific point.
  • A straight line is a line that connects the starting point to the end point.
  • That also makes it the shortest distance between the two points.
  • Displacement vectors often have a positive definition if the vectors are away from the reference point (aka datum) and a negative definition if they are toward.
  • In principle, an object can begin and end at the same position and have a displacement equal to zero.
  • Waves (and oscillations) are considered using displacement.
  • The oscillator’s equilibrium position is used as a reference point.
  • A positive displacement above the equilibrium (if this is appropriate) and a negative displacement below it.


  • When an object moves without regard to direction, it is said to be at a distance.
  • The distance between two points is defined by how much ground the object has covered regardless of where it started and where it ended.
  • Let’s use the following diagram to understand the concept of distance

Distance vs Displacement

Distance is a scalar quantity. displacement is a vector quantity
The distance between two points is the length of the path between them.Distance between two points is the direct length measured along the shortest path between them
Since distance has only a scalar magnitude, it doesn’t depend upon its directionThe magnitude and direction of displacement make displacement a vector quantity
Only positive distances can be measuredThere are several types of displacement, including positive, negative, and even zero

Is Distance is a Scalar Quantity Or Vector Quantity?

Actually yes, Distance is a scalar quantity but not a vector quantity.

Is Displacement is a Scalar Quantity Or Vector Quantity?

Yes, displacement is a vector quantity but not a scalar quantity and.

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