ab·​er·​rant | \a-ˈber-ənt, ə-, -ˈbe-rənt;ˈa-bə-rənt, -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


ab·​er·​rant | \a-ˈber-ənt, ə-, -ˈbe-rənt;ˈa-bə-rənt, -ˌber-ənt, -ˌbe-rənt\

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

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Other Words from aberrant


aberrance \ -​ən(t)s \ noun
aberrancy \ -​ən(t)-​sē \ noun
aberrantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for aberrant

Synonyms: Adjective

aberrational, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, deviant, deviate, devious, irregular, unnatural, untypical

Antonyms: Adjective

natural, normal, regular, standard, typical

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Did You Know?

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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In complex organisms such as humans, protection comes in part from having an immune system to destroy aberrant cells. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "The momentous transition to multicellular life may not have been so hard after all," 28 June 2018 Many Republicans regard the race as aberrant because of Bannon’s intense desire to unseat Republican incumbent Luther Strange. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "Can Donald Trump, the Most Unpopular President Ever, Save Republicans From a Massive Defeat in 2018?," 21 Feb. 2018 But new parents who turn to search engines to understand the practice will find an aberrant—and dangerous—strain of thinking. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice," 3 July 2018 When creating a notable renovation on an otherwise dull block, isn’t there a danger of the home looking a bit aberrant? R. Daniel Foster, latimes.com, "Orange County's boring 'burbs get HGTV makeovers," 22 June 2018 Immigration experts acknowledged that Trump’s surprise election may have been responsible for the severe, historically aberrant drop in border arrests in 2017. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Immigration Forces Beyond Trump’s Control," 8 June 2018 Her work includes explaining how aberrant signaling causes changes in blood vessels that contribute to breast cancer. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego science reaches top tier in new global survey," 7 June 2018 An aberrant arm juts out from one side, sporting a Mickey Mouse glove glazed with Viennese florals. Mimi Vu, New York Times, "The Artist Testing the Limits of Ceramics," 6 Mar. 2018 Like alcohol and some other sleeping pills, Ambien and its generic equivalent, zolpidem, can lower a person’s inhibitions and lead to aberrant behavior, Doghramji said. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "No, Ambien did not make Roseanne Barr a racist," 30 May 2018

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.

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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

The first known use of aberrant was circa 1536

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More Definitions for aberrant


ab·​er·​rant | \a-ˈber-ənt, ə-; ˈab-ə-rənt, -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

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Comments on aberrant

What made you want to look up aberrant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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