Displacement vector

vector that is the shortest distance from the initial to the final position of a point P

A displacement vector is a concept from mathematics. It is a vector. It shows the direction and distance traveled with a straight line. It is often used in physics to display the speed, acceleration and distance of an object traveled (relative to a reference point or an object's starting position).

The displacement vector (in green) measures distance (in blue) with a straight line. The displacement vector is the shortest way to travel the distance.


  • Tom walks 6 kilometres north from his home. His displacement from home is 6 km north. Next, Tom walks 10 km south. Now he has walked a distance of 16 km, but his displacement from home is 4 km south.