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 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

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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 within the Pac-12 basketball braintrust, there’s a deep belief that last March was not an aberration. oregonlive, 13 Oct. 2021 Another rider, however, told me their example offered a drastic delta between modes, so perhaps my pre-production tester was an aberration. Manuel Carrillo Iii, Robb Report, 6 Oct. 2021 Whether this was an aberration or the norm remains to be seen. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2021 For now, experts hope that is an aberration, not an early indication that the group will start smashing cultural treasures again. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2021 The offense could never get going, save in one group game against New Zealand, which - in hindsight - was the aberration, not the breakthrough. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Aug. 2021 To Fleck, all of this signals that the reduced flows in recent years are likely not an aberration, but rather a glimpse of the challenges posed by a hotter, drier climate. Drew Kann, CNN, 19 Apr. 2021 The increase in their reserves would end up looking like a healthy aberration, not a malign trend. The Economist, 23 Mar. 2021 White people tend to think of the incident as an aberration, an accident. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, 16 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near aberration

aberrated

aberration

aberrative

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Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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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 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

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