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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Toxic online content is not an aberration, but a permanent feature of the internet. Fortune, "The Amazon workers forcing change without a union," 22 Apr. 2021 The team's faceoff issues in overtime weren't an aberration; San Jose had the edge all night, winning 58 percent. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Wild loses faceoff battle, shootout to Sharks," 30 Mar. 2021 For a driver who’s under-fire to keep his seat after 2021, Barber is a great place for Pagenaud to prove his eighth-place finish in the 2020 title run was merely an aberration. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Thoughts on all 24 IndyCar drivers entering Barber season-opener," 16 Apr. 2021 The good news for universities is this does appear to be an aberration. Chris Morris, Fortune, "COVID’s educational impact: 25% of students postponed college," 16 Apr. 2021 And Thomas thinks Williams might also be an aberration. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "A force at 40? 49ers' Trent Williams aims to flatten Father Time," 13 Apr. 2021 The government’s request comes a week after lawyers for Ullah argued in their own papers that a mandatory 35-year prison term is punishment enough because his attack was an aberration from an otherwise peaceful life. Fox News, "New York City subway bomber should get life sentence, prosecutors say," 2 Apr. 2021 Was that last Hawkeyes win an aberration from the three-point line? Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Toughness factor will be key for Gophers basketball on the road Sunday at Iowa," 10 Jan. 2021 Gameday isn't the only aberration from normalcy for a crew. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Fox's Kevin Burkhardt, Daryl 'Moose' Johnston tackle broadcasting amid COVID-19, new partnership," 20 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aberration

Time Traveler for aberration

Time Traveler

The first known use of aberration was in 1588

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aberration

What made you want to look up aberration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!