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

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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
Recent Examples on the Web His shooting slump was positively an aberration; there will be several huge threes coming from the hands of Mountain Mike. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Apr. 2022 Freak weather, no longer the aberration, routinely disrupts travel. New York Times, 21 Sep. 2021 Nothing in the study links the aberration to mask usage and, in fact, the study never even mentions masks. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Aug. 2021 Many people thought the events of 2020 were an aberration, but even as the Covid-19 pandemic gradually recedes, many of the changes considered temporary became the new normal. Jeff Thomson, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 Georgia’s performance suggested that their loss to Alabama may have been an aberration, not the beginning of a trend. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 1 Jan. 2022 The question for every executive who reads this book is whether Moonshot is an aberration, made possible by the unique circumstances of the moment, or holds lessons for other challenges—like tackling cancer or climate change. Alan Murray, Fortune, 8 Mar. 2022 Are his most recent three games an aberration, or a sign of his progress? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2022 The mention of her mother was the first thing fans pointed out as an aberration — Williams announced in 2020 that Shirley Williams had died. Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

4 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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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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