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



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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 But the site was a reminder that, as much as the current upstate boom, the quiet, empty countryside of the past half century is itself something of an aberration. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, "The Pandemic Sparks a Real-Estate Gold Rush in Upstate New York," 9 Oct. 2020 The Bears have to hope that was more of an aberration than anything else. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Bears Q&A: What changes in the offense can we expect with Nick Foles at QB? What’s the fallout from losing Tarik Cohen? Where has first-round pick Cole Kmet been?," 30 Sep. 2020 Viewed through this lens, the college COVID crisis isn't an aberration, but merely the latest failure from folks who claim to value lofty ideals while exploiting and endangering others and enriching themselves and their institutions. Philip Eil, TheWeek, "Who's really at fault for campus coronavirus outbreaks?," 25 Sep. 2020 The narrative seemed, to me, a necessary aberration, an admission of artistic limitations. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Giddily Twisted Action of “The Boys”," 21 Sep. 2020 In his accidental embodiment of the latent flexibility of even the strictest of faiths, Trump’s treatment of religion is not an aberration, but the norm. Peter Manseau, The New Republic, "What Trump Taught America About the Bible," 18 Sep. 2020 Maybe Indiana's performance against Seattle was an aberration. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Fever report card: Top performances, players, final grade from disappointing 2020," 17 Sep. 2020 At the same time, Sean McVay’s team is hoping to prove 2019 was an aberration just as much as the team that made a coaching change after last season. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "With NFL’s new expanded playoff format, making each week count has become more important than ever for Cowboys," 12 Sep. 2020 Cooks, in his seventh season, is out to prove a disappointing 2019 season was an aberration. oregonlive, "Brandin Cooks doesn’t practice with the Houston Texans," 9 Sep. 2020

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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for aberration


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.


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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