aberration

noun
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

Other Words from aberration

aberrational \ ˌa-​bə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce aberration (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

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Both sides recognize that 2019 was an aberration and the result of Freddie Kitchens’ dysfunctional offense. cleveland, 26 June 2021 Dylan Larkin couldn’t wait to get to St. Louis, because Thursday's game against the Blues offers a chance to show the performance against the Nashville Predators was an aberration. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 8 Dec. 2021 That 45-14 shellacking at Michigan back in 2019 was the aberration in an 11-1 run off the bye for the Fighting Irish, who will entertain unranked (and also rested) USC under similar circumstances this Saturday in South Bend, Ind. Mike Berardino, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 To millions of others the era of Trump seems an aberration in American history increasingly distant in time. Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books, 1 July 2021 Whether that was an aberration or the sign of things to come in his early 30s remains to be seen. Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec. 2021 Graves called the high volume of turnovers an aberration. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 21 Nov. 2021 And those six points allowed against Buffalo appear to be an aberration for a team that has surrendered at least 20 in every other game this season. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Nov. 2021 Are these extra-large pulses of marine snow now a permanent feature of the deep waters off California, or an aberration? Matt Simon, Wired, 12 Nov. 2021

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.

See More

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

Learn More About aberration

Time Traveler for aberration

Time Traveler

The first known use of aberration was in 1588

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near aberration

aberrated

aberration

aberrative

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

4 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for aberration

aberration

noun
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.

aberration

noun
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 aberration (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on aberration

Nglish: Translation of aberration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aberration for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aberration

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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