ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Definition of aberration

1a : the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state aberrations of character
b : something or someone regarded as atypical and therefore able to be ignored or discounted Harkins was to be regarded as an aberration among American military leaders …— Neil Sheehan The U.S. establishment treated this grassroots movement almost as an aberration, virtually ignoring it.— Helen Caldicott As for Putin's desire to lay waste to Chechnya, Western leaders largely dismiss it as an aberrationThe New Republic
2 : failure of a mirror, refracting surface, or lens to produce exact point-to-point correspondence between an object and its image chromatic aberration … the telescope suffers from a serious focusing problem, a condition known as spherical aberration, which causes the point-like images of stars to be surrounded by fuzzy haze.— M. Mitchell Waldrop
3 : unsoundness or disorder of the mind
4 : a small periodic change of apparent position in celestial bodies due to the combined effect of the motion of light and the motion of the observer
5 : an aberrant individual

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Other Words from aberration

aberrational \ ˌa-​bə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce aberrational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
aberrational behavior They react, often in anger, to particular decisions but tend to regard them as aberrational rather than systemic failures. — Robert H. Bork

Synonyms & Antonyms for aberration



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Examples of aberration in a Sentence

Recently geneticists have taken a closer look at a genetic aberration previously considered rare …  . The genes may be perfectly normal, yet there is a shortage or surplus of DNA sequences that may play a role in diseases that defy straightforward genetic patterns … — Melinda Wenner, Scientific American, June 2009 He did hit five homers for Texas in 1987, but that was an aberration. In no other major league season has he hit more than three, and last season he actually came up with a goose egg. — E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 5 Apr. 1989 Gilliard's studies of numerous bird of paradise species brought them from the realm of exotic aberrations to the forefront of sociobiology. — Jared M. Diamond, Nature, 24-30 Sept. 1981 For her, such a low grade on an exam was an aberration. a study of sexual aberration
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Recent Examples on the Web The data over the past month shows that’s not an aberration. Condé Nast Traveler, "Airlines Are Trying to Cut Service to Small Airports During Coronavirus," 23 Apr. 2020 Turns out, the magnitude 6.4 earthquake which jolted Puerto Rico yesterday was not an aberration—since December 28, some 400 earthquakes of a magnitude of 2 or greater have been recorded in the region. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "The Sweet Nostalgia of the ‘Israel Loves Iran’ Project," 8 Jan. 2020 The season is going to be an aberration no matter what. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Let's not portray the Bengals as benevolent in the Dalton situation," 4 May 2020 The Bears insisted that last year's mediocrity and ineptitude was an aberration. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: With trade for QB Nick Foles, Chicago Bears seal panicked offseason of missed opportunities," 18 Mar. 2020 Indeed, the past 15 years or so, in which the top players (with rare exception for injury) have consistently competed in every major tournament, have been an aberration. oregonlive, "Wimbledon has been canceled for 2020, adding new twist to argument over ‘Greatest of all Time’ status," 1 Apr. 2020 Flannery said his client’s actions were an aberration and that the shame and public tarnishing of his reputation was enough. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Former city of Cleveland engineer sentenced for extorting contractor on private paving job," 4 Nov. 2019 Some economists argue that the 1990s were an aberration and productivity growth just returned to more normal rates. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Gen Z and 5G could accelerate growth in U.S. next decade," 13 Oct. 2019 But those situations are an aberration and not the norm. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, "Dillon Gabriel, after leading UCF to a rout of FAU, is the new starting QB — or is he? | Commentary," 8 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aberration.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aberration

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for aberration

borrowed from Latin aberrātiōn-, aberrātiō "diversion, relief," from aberrāre "to wander away" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at aberrant entry 1

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Time Traveler for aberration

Time Traveler

The first known use of aberration was in 1588

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Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for aberration


ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Kids Definition of aberration

: an instance of being different from what is normal or usual The poor test grade was an aberration for her.


ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌab-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Medical Definition of aberration

1 : failure of a mirror, refracting surface, or lens to produce exact point-to-point correspondence between an object and its image
2 : unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3 : an aberrant organ or individual

Other Words from aberration

aberrational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​əl How to pronounce aberrational (audio) \ adjective

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