# What is distance or displacement?

If you run a 5K on a circular course, your distance traveled is 5 kilometers, regardless of where you started and finished. Distance is a scalar quantity. Displacement is an object's change in position, only measuring from its starting position to the final position.

In this manner, is distance and displacement the same?

Distance and displacement are two quantities that may seem to mean the same thing yet have distinctly different definitions and meanings. Distance is a scalar quantity that refers to "how much ground an object has covered" during its motion.

Are distance and displacement always different amounts?

Distance and displacement are different quantities, but they are related. Since the displacement is measured along the shortest path between two points, its magnitude is always less than or equal to the distance.

Can distance and displacement ever be equal?

This artificial example shows that distance and displacement have the same size only when we consider small intervals. Since the displacement is measured along the shortest path between two points, its magnitude is always less than or equal to the distance.

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