I came across this passage and thought that the word 'evacuated' does not quite accurately show how Kiyomi and her family were forced to leave their home:

Kiyomi, a Japanese-American girl, and her family were evacuated from their home during the World War. The United States and Japan were at war. The US government compelled many Japanese Americans and their Japanese-born parents to leave their homes in special camps. The government interned Japanese-American families in camps because they were concerned that they might be working for Japan as spies.

Should the word 'evacuated' be replaced by something else? 'Evacuated' seems to suggests the idea that the occupants of a place are moved to a safer one. In this context, Kiyomi was forced to leave. What could be a more suitable word to replace 'evacuated'? Thanks.

3 Answers 3


The word you might be looking for is evict, whose meaning is:

expel (someone) from a property, especially with the support of the law.

evict has an explicitly negative connotation, it is often used to describe the situation of people being forced to leave their homes because they were unable to pay the mortgages on their houses.

It also specifies that Kiyomi was forced to leave against her will.

  • "Eviction" does properly convey that they were forced to leave against their will, but does not convey that they were also forced to go to another specific location. I believe the proper term OP is looking for is "relocation."
    – randomhead
    Jun 11, 2021 at 18:17

The proper term for this action is one you have already used—relocation, which has the connotation of forced relocation.

You are correct that "evacuated" implies they were moved for their own safety. "Evicted" means they were forced out of their house, but does not mean that they were sent anywhere else in particular; "driven out" and "ran off" are the same way.

Saying that the government relocated Japanese-Americans means that the government forced them to do two distinct things: First to leave their homes, and second to go live in the internment camps (concentration camps). The government may provide temporary shelter for evacuees fleeing a natural disaster, but would not force them to stay there, unlike in this case.

  • Good answer. It's interesting that a quick look at internet search results indicates this [inaccurate] word "evacuate", is used a lot when describing the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans during those years.
    – Lorel C.
    Jun 11, 2021 at 19:12

I would suggest either "drive out" which usually implies force (also "force out", "pitch out", "turn out", "run off") or "deport".

Depending on the further context one or the other verb can be suitable.

As of "evict" the verb mostly refers to kick someone out of the their property usually because they have not paid their rent. This is mostly done with the support of law.

The verb "evacuate" refers to relocating from an unsafe place - to make people leave a building because it is not safe; to make people leave their homes because of a dangerous situation such as a war.

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