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 \ -​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

dementia, derangement, insanity, lunacy, madness, mania, rage [archaic]

Antonyms

mind, saneness, sanity

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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

Look at -- in history, and there's only one example -- kind of an aberration because of the war. Fox News, "Spoiler alert: Moderates beat back progressives in primaries," 9 Aug. 2018 No eye is optically perfect, and all eyes (with or without LASIK) have at least some degree of higher-order aberrations. Author: Roni Caryn Rabin, Anchorage Daily News, "Blurred vision, burning eyes: This is a Lasik success?," 12 June 2018 Their bulbous heads and eye patches indicate that those whales might not have been an aberration after all, and that these whales might be more widespread than anyone knows. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Spot Mysterious Unknown Breed of Killer Whales," 8 Mar. 2019 The title role is played by Isabelle Huppert, an international star of great accomplishment—138 acting credits thus far, and many more to come after this minor aberration. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Greta’ Review: Big Names, Small Chills," 28 Feb. 2019 However, this metamaterial lens is flat (like a Fresnel lens) and has been engineered to minimize many of the aberrations. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Metamaterial-equipped endoscope reveals your innermost secrets," 4 Aug. 2018 The issue is that all lenses have imperfections, called aberrations, even if the fabrication is absolutely perfect. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Metamaterial-equipped endoscope reveals your innermost secrets," 4 Aug. 2018 Moments of personal vulnerability—chest pains while at Florida—are presented as rare human aberrations, like slivers of Kryptonite. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Urban Meyer and the God Complex in College Sports," 3 Aug. 2018 Amma’s kind of violence is an aberration, particularly in a town like Wind Gap, where nobody took seriously Camille’s idea that the girls’ murderer could be female. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Sharp Objects Finale Delivers a Shocking Twist Ending," 27 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aberration

The first known use of aberration was in 1588

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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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Comments on aberration

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