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

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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

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 So there’s hope for a long playoff run, to make last season’s disappointment a mere aberration. BostonGlobe.com, "What vice president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has done with the construction of this roster is make every player from 1 to 15 useful. There is no dead roster weight, bad contracts or holdovers who have no role.," 25 Dec. 2019 Moreover, this isn’t a temporary aberration: interest rates less than growth are actually the norm, broken only for a relatively short stretch in the 1980s. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Against Debt Hysteria," 7 Nov. 2019 American sports are so relentlessly driven by statistics, analytics, predictions, and down-to-the-decimal quality rankings that when a genuine aberration appears on the field, there seems to be nothing else to do but descend into mania. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "Gardner Minshew Will Convince You," 24 Oct. 2019 From the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban to its family separation policy, many Americans object to the White House’s hardline immigration policies as a historical aberration out of sync with U.S. values. Anthony W. Fontes, The Conversation, "The long, bipartisan history of dealing with immigrants harshly," 9 July 2019 Admittedly, Leicester did win the title in 2016, but that achievement is generally regarded as a glorious aberration. SI.com, "Leicester and Huddersfield Among 6 Premier League Clubs Eyeing Move for German World Cup Star," 6 July 2018 Overall spending on regular payrolls dropped for the third straight year, an aberration caused by large signing bonuses for Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Jacob deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado and A.J. Pollock. Ronald Blum, The Denver Post, "Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs sent 2019 luxury tax bills," 19 Dec. 2019 Children suffering from trauma being treated like aberrations as if their circumstances are their fault? Rochelle Riley, Freep.com, "Children in Crisis: What we’re doing, not doing and should be doing," 16 Dec. 2019 Saturday's game against Penn State could be an aberration — the Buckeyes fumbled three times, two of which were Fields' fault. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football blows by Indiana; will offense work vs. historically good Ohio State," 24 Nov. 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

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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 aberrational (audio) \ adjective

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