The situation: df (which shows disk usage) disagrees with du (which shows disk space taken up by files). So you have disk space which is "used", but it is not taken up by any files!? What gives!?
root@xps:~# df -h /tmp Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on /dev/mapper/xps--vg-tmp 4.9G 4.6G 0 100% /tmp root@xps:~# du -sh /tmp 708K /tmp
Here we have a discrepancy of at least 21 Mb - more than can be accounted for by filesystem overhead. So there has to be another explanation.
If df and du ran at different times on an active system, it is possible that things changed in between those times. So it is usually worth double-checking that you are looking at up-to-date information before jumping to conclusions. But since you are still reading this, let us assume this that the information is up-to-date...
du and df can disagree due to open files which have been deleted: Linux allows files to be deleted while they are still open (the disk space allocated to the file will not be returned to the "free" pool until the file is closed) This makes the file "invisible" to du (because it no longer appears in any directory), but df shows the disk space as occupied.
So how do we find such files? They will not appear in any directory because they have been deleted, so looking for them in the file system is futile.
Here lsof (in the Debian package of the same name) comes to the rescue.
lsof /tmp | grep deleted | sort -n -k7 -r
This might give output looking like this:
bash 11164 karl 4w REG 253,12 4909318144 57 /tmp/somefile (deleted) firefox-e 31391 karl 144r REG 253,12 939693 46 /tmp/tmp-blm.xpi (deleted) gnome-ter 24045 karl 15u REG 253,12 262144 50 /tmp/#50 (deleted) gnome-ter 24045 karl 23u REG 253,12 196608 60 /tmp/#60 (deleted) gnome-ter 24045 karl 20u REG 253,12 196608 21 /tmp/#21 (deleted) gnome-ter 24045 karl 17u REG 253,12 65536 61 /tmp/#61 (deleted) gnome-ter 24045 karl 16u REG 253,12 65536 58 /tmp/#58 (deleted) apache2 7264 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 7263 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 7262 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 7261 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 7260 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 7259 www-data 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted) apache2 1338 root 9u REG 253,12 0 42 /tmp/.ZendSem.Agz5mK (deleted)
This lists the process which has the deleted files open - in this case, the disk space was being used by /tmp/somefile which was open by process id 11164. So stopping/killing that process would free up the disk space.