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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aberrant


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

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But much of this legal software is designed to help firms standardize their contracts by quickly finding aberrant clauses, rather than helping companies create bespoke contracts for each vendor or supplier. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "‘Skype Mafia’ Backs A.I. Startup Automating Contract Negotiations," 11 Sep. 2019 Increasingly, suicide became socially and morally aberrant. Simon Harold Walker, Time, "If We Want to Address the Crisis of Veteran Suicide, We Must Acknowledge Its History," 6 Sep. 2019 Trump’s aberrant behavior — that is, linking his excesses to some possible underlying disorder, rather than just noting them on their own. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "On Trump and Queeg: A Followup," 25 Aug. 2019 T cells, after all, were already capable of recognizing and attacking aberrant cells. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 And portraying Trump as aberrant gives sometime Republican voters who don’t wish to feel personally implicated in the profound rot of the conservative movement cover to vote for Biden. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 Most research to date has focused on how aberrant DNA drives disease, but even healthy bodies harbor genetic disorder. Quanta Magazine, "I Contain Multitudes," 21 Aug. 2014 But calling God by various other names isn’t considered strange or aberrant to conservative Christians — in fact, Christian bookstores have long sold posters celebrating God’s many monikers. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The First Man controversy is grounded in partisanship, not patriotism," 13 Sep. 2018 Green described Oyekanmi’s conduct as aberrant from the work performed by correctional officers across the state. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "‘An enormous abuse of the trust,’ judge tells former jail officer sentenced for sex act with inmate," 26 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aberrant

Statistics for aberrant

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aberrant

The first known use of aberrant was circa 1536

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on aberrant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aberrant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aberrant

Spanish Central: Translation of aberrant

Nglish: Translation of aberrant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aberrant for Arabic Speakers

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).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!