1 of 2


ab·​nor·​mal (ˌ)ab-ˈnȯr-məl How to pronounce abnormal (audio)
: deviating from the normal or average
a person with abnormal [=exceptional] strength
abnormal powers of concentration
often : unusual in an unwelcome or problematic way
abnormal behavior
abnormal test results
abnormally adverb
behaving abnormally


2 of 2


: an abnormal person

Examples of abnormal in a Sentence

Adjective The results of the blood test were abnormal. a completely abnormal school day, because half of the kids were out sick
Recent Examples on the Web
However, recent studies have found links between marijuana use and cardiovascular problems, including abnormal heart rhythms and even heart attacks. Akshay Syal, M.d., NBC News, 18 Nov. 2023 Clear indicators of high risk come from a biopsy showing abnormal growths: proliferative lesions or premalignant lesions in the breast such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ, or LCIS. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, 13 Nov. 2023 Grading looks at how abnormal cancer cells look under a microscope. Jenny McCoy, Health, 10 Nov. 2023 The goal, Halpern says, is to restore normal function to abnormal neural circuits. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 30 Oct. 2023 Paramedics have medical devices that use electrical currents to correct abnormal heart rhythms (defibrillators). Nick Blackmer, Verywell Health, 20 Oct. 2023 That’s because what looks like a house effect in an individual poll could just be abnormal amounts of random sampling or other error. G. Elliott Morris, ABC News, 9 Oct. 2023 While that agreement focuses on longterm average temperatures, September’s abnormal heat – which followed the hottest summer ever recorded – has given a preview of what the world can expect as soaring temperatures supercharge extreme weather. Laura Paddison, CNN, 4 Oct. 2023 For someone with blood cancer, there are abnormal blood cells present in the body that grow out of control and negatively impact the function of normal blood cells. Ashlyn Messier, Fox News, 24 Sep. 2023
Being there on Tuesday felt like the new abnormal. Terry Blain Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 5 Aug. 2020 Welcome to the new abnormal. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Dec. 2022 There's only a new abnormal. Faye Flam, Star Tribune, 2 Feb. 2021 Primed for speed and for the social distancing of the new abnormal, Toro Coffee does its thing exclusively at the drive-thru, with a window on each side of this white box building near Rackspace on the Northeast Side. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Jan. 2021 Several in the Santiam district spoke to The Oregonian/OregonLive about what’s become a catchphrase of the double bind -- the new abnormal. oregonlive, 20 Oct. 2020 The abnormal of 2020 continued through this game as lightning delayed the game by more than half an hour late in the third quarter, and with 3:52 remaining in the game, half of the stadium's lighting went out. al, 22 Aug. 2020 Welcome to the Charles Schwab Challenge and the PGA Tour’s new abnormal. Dallas News, 12 June 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abnormal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



New Latin abnormis "deviating from the average" (going back to Medieval Latin, "not conforming to rule," going back to Latin, "belonging to no school of philosophy," from ab- ab- + norma "carpenter's rule, pattern") + -al entry 1 — more at norm


noun derivative of abnormal entry 1

First Known Use


1817, in the meaning defined above


1857, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abnormal was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near abnormal

Cite this Entry

“Abnormal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abnormal. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: differing from the normal or average : unusual

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
ab·​nor·​mal (ˈ)ab-ˈnȯr-məl How to pronounce abnormal (audio)
: deviating from the normal, average, or expected
abnormal development
results of the Pap smear were abnormal
abnormal actions departing from accepted standards of social behavior
abnormally adverb


2 of 2 noun
: an abnormal person

More from Merriam-Webster on abnormal

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