anomaly

noun
anom·​a·​ly | \ ə-ˈnä-mə-lē How to pronounce anomaly (audio) \
plural anomalies

Definition of anomaly

1 : something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified : something anomalous They regarded the test results as an anomaly.
2 : deviation from the common rule : irregularity
3 : the angular distance of a planet from its perihelion as seen from the sun

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Examples of anomaly in a Sentence

In approximately 10% of patients, autism can be explained by genetic syndromes and known chromosomal anomalies (most of which have recognizable features in addition to autism) … — Lauren A. Weiss et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 14 Feb. 2008 Eleven minutes may not sound like much when you're waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant, but in the course of centuries, eleven minutes and change become a formidable chunk of time. By the 1300s, those superfluous minutes had added up to hours, then days, then more than a week. The calendar was losing time, irrevocably, to the "real" year, slipping further and further behind in its measurement of the earth's orbit. Anomalies began to creep into what had been the certainties of life. The spring equinox—one of two moments in the year when day and night are of equal length all over the earth, and which occurs on or about March 21—began to fall on March 16, then 15, then 14. — Michelle Stacey, Harper's, December 2006 Californians aren't the only ones vexed by rolling brownouts and other power-supply anomalies. Everyday power spikes, surges, sags, and line noise cause computers, stereo equipment, televisions, telephones, and other delicate electronic equipment to go psychotic or have complete nervous breakdowns. Fortune, 25 June 2001 This policy may well have made sense back when steroid use was an anomaly. Now that bulking up with chemical help seems to be more popular than ever, it's incumbent on baseball to take action. — Steve Kettman, New York Times, 20 Aug. 2000 We couldn't explain the anomalies in the test results. her C grade is an anomaly, as she's never made anything except A's and B's before
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Recent Examples on the Web

If that six-year period is set aside as an anomaly, the Treasury’s average borrowing cost from 1948-2009 was 4.8%. Phil Gramm And, WSJ, "The Debt Threat to the Economy," 10 Dec. 2018 Oh well, despite these anomalies, at least Football has learnt once and for all the dangers that can ensue when a select few of the world's richest men possess autonomous rule over the beautiful game. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 9 Weeks to Go - Prince Fahid's Stunning Intervention for Kuwait Against France," 22 Apr. 2018 McDowall took a closer look at the numbers and noticed that 1981 was an anomaly—there were 75 percent more burglaries that year than there were, on average, in the previous five years. Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American, "More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows," 1 Oct. 2017 Diamond and Silk are somewhat more unusual as black women, but even that isn’t entirely an anomaly — the GOP also has Stacey Dash, Omarosa, and Pierson. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends’ favorite black Trump supporters, explained," 5 Feb. 2019 Photo: Marvel Studios Box-Office Draw The 2019 awards season is an anomaly from years past: The contenders are hits. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "5 Things to Watch for at the Golden Globes," 6 Jan. 2019 This isn’t the Golden Age of Hollywood, when Ida Lupino was an anomaly for directing and co-writing 1953’s The Hitch-Hiker. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "There's No Lack of Female Directors. There’s Only a Lack of Opportunities.," 26 Oct. 2018 There might be small anomalies every so often, but none would immediately cause alarm. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Chinese spy chips would be a ‘god-mode’ hack, experts say," 4 Oct. 2018 Lunar swirls are beautiful optical anomalies on the surface of the moon that occur without any defined shape and exist in various sizes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Moon's Most Mysterious Feature Now Has an Origin Story," 7 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anomaly.' 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 anomaly

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for anomaly

see anomalous

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Statistics for anomaly

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anomaly

The first known use of anomaly was in 1603

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More Definitions for anomaly

anomaly

noun

English Language Learners Definition of anomaly

somewhat formal : something that is unusual or unexpected : something anomalous

anomaly

noun
anom·​a·​ly | \ ə-ˈnä-mə-lē How to pronounce anomaly (audio) \
plural anomalies

Kids Definition of anomaly

: something different, abnormal, strange, or not easily described

anomaly

noun
anom·​a·​ly | \ ə-ˈnäm-ə-lē How to pronounce anomaly (audio) \
plural anomalies

Medical Definition of anomaly

: a deviation from normal especially of a bodily part the infants demonstrated congenital anomalies personality anomalies

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