adjective anom·a·lous \ ə-ˈnä-mə-ləs \
|Updated on: 23 Jul 2018

Definition of anomalous

1 : inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected : irregular, unusual
  • Researchers could not explain the anomalous test results.
2 a : of uncertain nature or classification
  • an anomalous figure in the world of politics
b : marked by incongruity or contradiction : paradoxical





Examples of anomalous in a Sentence

  1. Researchers could not explain the anomalous test results.

  2. that was an anomalous year for the housing industry, so the number of starts is anything but typical

  3. When you’re a child, everything local is famous. On that principle, Hoyt-Schermerhorn was the most famous subway station in the world. It was the first subway station I knew, and it took years for me to disentangle my primal fascination with its status as a functional ruin, an indifferent home to clockwork chaos, from the fact that it was, in objective measure, an anomalous place. Personal impressions and neighborhood lore swirled in my exaggerated regard. In fact the place was cool and weird beyond my obsession’s parameters, cooler and weirder than most subway stations anyway. —“Speak, Hoyt-Schermerhorn” P. 73, Jonathan Lethem, HARPER’S MAGAZINE Vol. 309 No. 1855, December 2004

  4. A whole raft of species prefer living in this type of comfortable, settled, old forest, says Spaulding, which means that Borestone supports a unique variety of life, a bunch of animals not necessarily common to the area. Even the rocks and ponds are a bit anomalous for the Maine woods. It's just the kind of rarity and diversity you might expect in an Audubon sanctuary–especially one that comprises more than half of the society's total acreage in the state. —"Borestone Mountain hideaway" P. 70, Andrew Vietze, DOWN EAST Vol. 50 No. 2, September 2003

  5. London was more of an agglutination than any kind of classical construction, buildings stuck together and clotted as a mass of swallows’ or bats’ nests. The many official attempts in the first decade of the century to clarify and cleanse the city, to impose order and uniformity on its bubbling and anomalous being, repeatedly failed. This animal aspect of London was always too powerful. —“Two” P. 24, GOD’S SECRETARIES, Adam Nicolson, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 220.5 N54g ©2003

  6. Many regions in Italy insist on the differences and integrity of local cuisine, scoffing at tourist restaurants that will serve a dish as anomalous as "spaghetti bolognese," mixing tropes of north and south with appalling familiarity. But Trieste cooks as it lives—in a simmering melting pot. —"Pursuits & Retreats" P. 83, John Donatich, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY Vol. 289 No. 6, June 2002

  7. The book explores scientific evidence on altered states of consciousness associated with mystical experiences, near-death incidents, alien-abduction reports, and other so-called anomalous events. —"Into the Mystic" P. 104, Bruce Bower, SCIENCE NEWS Vol. 159 No. 7, February 17, 2001

  8. There are different red/green colour deficiencies, though. The most common, which affects some five per cent of men, is 'defective' green vision - deuteranomalous trichromatism. Translated, that means normal colour vision ( trichromatism) affected by problems (anomalous) in the middle, green wavelength (deuter). —"Life: Life&Soul: Health: Hue and cry: Is severe colour-blindness a handicap or just a different way of seeing the world? Peter Silverton reports on his sons' 'colour deficiency'", Pg. 39, BYLINE: Peter Silverton, THE OBSERVER [NEXIS], Copyright 2001 Guardian Newspapers Limited, July 1, 2001

Recent Examples of anomalous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anomalous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of anomalous

Late Latin anomalus, from Greek anōmalos, literally, uneven, from a- + homalos even, from homos same — more at same

Synonym Discussion of anomalous

irregular, anomalous, unnatural mean not conforming to rule, law, or custom. irregular implies not conforming to a law or regulation imposed for the sake of uniformity in method, practice, or conduct.
    • concerned about his irregular behavior
anomalous implies not conforming to what might be expected because of the class or type to which it belongs or the laws that govern its existence.
    • her drive made her an anomalous figure in a sleepy organization
unnatural suggests what is contrary to nature or to principles or standards felt to be essential to the well-being of civilized society.
    • prisoners treated with unnatural cruelty

ANOMALOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of anomalous for English Language Learners

  • : not expected or usual

ANOMALOUS Defined for Kids


adjective anom·a·lous \ ə-ˈnä-mə-ləs \

Definition of anomalous for Students

: not regular or usual
  • anomalous test results

Medical Dictionary


adjective anom·a·lous \ ə-ˈnäm-ə-ləs \

medical Definition of anomalous

: deviating from normal
  • anomalous development
  • anomalous pulmonary venous drainage
  • Physicians' Current Procedural Terminology
specifically : having abnormal vision with respect to a particular color but not color-blind
  • she was almost red anomalous
  • Nature

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very hard to disturb or upset

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