ab·​er·​rant | \ a-ˈber-ənt How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , ə-, -ˈbe-rənt; ˈa-bə-rənt How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , -ˌber-ənt, -ˌbe-rənt \

Definition of aberrant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : deviating from the usual or natural type : atypical, abnormal aberrant behavior I don't intend to suggest that his psychology was in some way aberrant or neurotic …— Michael Chabon
2 : straying from the right or normal way aberrant misfits



Definition of aberrant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a group, individual, or structure that is not normal or typical : an aberrant group, individual, or structure
2 : a person whose behavior departs substantially from the standard

Other Words from aberrant


aberrance \ a-​ˈber-​ən(t)s How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , ə-​ , -​ˈbe-​rən(t)s ; ˈa-​bə-​rən(t)s How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , -​ˌber-​ən(t)s , -​ˌbe-​rən(t)s \ noun
aberrantly adverb

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Something aberrant has wandered away from the usual path or form. The word is generally used in a negative way; aberrant behavior, for example, may be a symptom of other problems. But the discovery of an aberrant variety of a species can be exciting news to a biologist, and identifying an aberrant gene has led the way to new treatments for diseases.

Examples of aberrant in a Sentence

Adjective The stones, silvered in the moon's aberrant light, shone like spectral tombs, and the figures, which Dalgliesh knew were Helena, Lettie and the Bostocks, became discarnate shapes disappearing into the darkness. — P. D. James, The Private Patient, 2008 … as if he had happily spied an aberrant crocus amid the wintry gray scene of Presidential impeachment. — Francis X. Clines, New York Times, 8 Jan. 1999 … at the brief and aberrant moment in time when it was possible to believe that America owed its great place in the world to its military and moral virtue rather than to the weight of its currency. — Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, March 1992 a year of aberrant weather—record rainfall in the summer, record heat in the autumn aberrant behavior can be a sign of rabies in a wild animal
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After 100 days, the researchers found these rats were more likely to have developed aberrant crypt foci—clusters of abnormal glands in the lining of the colon and rectum—than were rats given regular drinking water. Sam Jones, Scientific American, 29 July 2022 The Scottish study suggests that all three factors combine to explain the hepatitis cases: An adenovirus infection and a tag-along AAV2 infection, one of which triggers an aberrant immune response in children with a genetic predisposition. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 25 July 2022 The series is, in many ways, preoccupied with aberrant embodiment, and with dramatizing and satirizing the workings of the body. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, 12 July 2022 Indeed, aberrant weather around the world is close to becoming the new predictable weather in its unpredictability. Llewellyn King, Forbes, 5 July 2022 So many of your books show people behaving in absurd, aberrant, or seemingly deluded ways—and this, to me, is why your characters always feel so human. Elizabeth Nicholas, Vogue, 15 June 2022 As the plot progresses, Casey immerses herself more and more in the videos of other players, and her own behavior becomes more and more aberrant. David Sims, The Atlantic, 1 May 2022 But the plaintiffs had an ace up their sleeve: an aberrant Ninth Circuit standard for when the ADA preempts general state laws. Glenn G. Lammi, Forbes, 16 June 2022 However, unlike most others who create antibodies that bind to aberrant protein, Mead and colleagues designed an antibody that stabilizes the normal protein precursor. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 9 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of aberrant


circa 1536, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aberrant


borrowed from Latin aberrant-, aberrans, present participle of aberrāre "to wander away, stray, go wrong," from ab- ab- + errāre "to wander, drift, be in error" — more at err


noun derivative of aberrant entry 1

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Time Traveler for aberrant

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The first known use of aberrant was circa 1536

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aberrant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberrant. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for aberrant


ab·​er·​rant | \ a-ˈber-ənt How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , ə-; ˈab-ə-rənt How to pronounce aberrant (audio) , -ˌe(ə)r-ənt \

Medical Definition of aberrant

1 : straying from the right or normal way aberrant behavior
2 : deviating from the usual or natural type : atypical sense 1 aberrant salivary tissue

More from Merriam-Webster on aberrant

Nglish: Translation of aberrant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aberrant for Arabic Speakers


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