Definition of aberration
1a : the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state aberrations of characterb : something or someone regarded as atypical and therefore able 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 aberration … — The 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
aberrationalplay \-shnəl, -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
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
Recent Examples of aberration from the Web
An aberration on the verdict slip, however, has raised new questions about the trial outcome.
That tells you the periodic, and unspeakable, slaughters are an aberration committed by criminals and the mentally unbalanced.
One thing that makes baseball so wonderfully unpredictable is the happy aberration of a career year out of nowhere.
Finally, there's LSU fielding, which aside from Friday's five-error aberration Friday vs. Texas Southern, has been virtually flawless all season.
Bandai Namco did not respond to questions about the game's chromatic aberration issues in time for this review.
Kennedy battled to make his previous outing an aberration.
Following a 'moral compass' Back in Allendale, normally a Republican bastion, the election turned out to be something of an aberration; Clinton beat Trump by just three votes — 1,759 to 1,756.
Is this a minor aberration — or a serious indication of democratic deterioration?
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.
ABERRATION Defined for Kids
Definition of aberration for Students
: an instance of being different from what is normal or usual The poor test grade was an aberration for her.
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
aberrational\-shnəl, -shən-əl\play adjective
Learn More about aberration
See words that rhyme with aberration Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aberration Spanish Central: Translation of aberration Nglish: Translation of aberration for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of aberration for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aberration
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up aberration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).