Since the study of forced migration as a distinctive field of academic research – now marked out by research centres, degree courses, and journals – emerged in the 1980s, it has been dogged by debates about its relationship with other fields and academic disciplines. While there appears to be consensus that it should be a multidisciplinary endeavour, there is much less agreement about its scope. Many of these debates are concerned with how far one can distinguish displacement from migration and the value of making such a distinction. In this essay, I argue that the terms migration and displacement are used with three different senses, which are often conflated and confused. As a result, the discussion about the relationships between migration and displacement is made much more complex and less productive.