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 Some experts are not convinced that there’s an ongoing sea change in viewership habits, and low ratings can be chalked up to an aberration of scattershot viewing over the last year at home. Washington Post, "The Grammys are the latest award show to see a drastic drop in TV ratings," 17 Mar. 2021 Was President Donald Trump an aberration or the ominous onset of decline in the world's premier democracy? Star Tribune, "Adversaries gloat, allies lament attack on U.S. Capitol," 11 Jan. 2021 Will 2020 turn out to be a disruptive aberration or a decisive turning point? Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "The $600 question: When is it coming?," 28 Dec. 2020 Will 2020 turn out to be an aberration or a turning point? Susan Page, USA Today, "Year of tumult in politics: 2020 changed the U.S., creating 'a big fork in the road' with challenges for Biden, Trump," 28 Dec. 2020 Is this an aberration or the start of an alarming trend? John Talty | Jtalty@al.com, al, "Are the SEC’s postponements the start of a bad trend?," 11 Nov. 2020 But whether 2020 is an aberration or the beginning of a mass greening of the U.S. power sector depends in large part on what policymakers do next. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "U.S. Wind and Solar Installation Are Smashing Records, But the Trend May Not Last," 8 Oct. 2020 The only aberration is the result—the horrible presidency of Donald J. Trump. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, "Transcript: On Being Wrong," 17 Feb. 2021 Englander’s lawyer urged the judge to see his crime as an aberration and adopt the more lenient recommendation made by probation officials: no prison time, a $9,500 fine and three years’ probation. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, "Ex-L.A. Councilman Englander sentenced to prison in City Hall corruption case," 25 Jan. 2021

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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 17 Apr. 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

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Comments on aberration

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