anom·a·ly | \ ə-ˈnä-mə-lē \
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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Synonyms & Antonyms for anomaly


abnormality, freak, monster, monstrosity


average, norm, normal, par, standard

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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

The Orlando Pride’s last outing against the Houston Dash was an anomaly, according to head coach Tom Sermanni. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride set for rematch against Houston Dash," 10 July 2018 In an era defined by three-pointers, Livingston is an anomaly. Connor Letourneau,, "Shaun Livingston: How Warriors guard peaked when it mattered most," 1 July 2018 In the digital age, when liner notes have been reduced to a song name scrolling across a streaming playlist, the husband-and-wife team of Martin and Meagan Hennessey are an anomaly. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, "This mysterious recording was the missing musical link to an era when racism was the tune," 22 June 2018 But choosing aluminum as his primary medium was an anomaly. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter,, "Akron artist Don Drumm's iconic sun still shining after 60 years," 26 Apr. 2018 Kirkley’s mastery of Patterson’s Coi kitchen in such a short time was an anomaly. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why the restaurant Coi won’t be on this year’s Top 100 Restaurants list," 17 Apr. 2018 Alongside his goal in the final, Angelos Charisteas’ performances throughout Euro 2004 seemed a career anomaly at the time, and remained so., "Surprise World Cup Stars: Artem Dzyuba – The Russian Peter Crouch With an Infectious Smile," 9 July 2018 The flame-haired British songstress has always been something of a pop anomaly. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Review: Florence and the Machine's 'High as Hope' is their most personal album yet," 28 June 2018 That’s a painful temperature anomaly in January but rather welcome in June. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, "PM Update: Remaining cool tonight, and warming back up a bit Tuesday," 11 June 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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Learn More about anomaly

Statistics for anomaly

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anomaly

The first known use of anomaly was in 1603

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More Definitions for anomaly



English Language Learners Definition of anomaly

: something that is unusual or unexpected : something anomalous


anom·a·ly | \ ə-ˈnä-mə-lē \
plural anomalies

Kids Definition of anomaly

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


anom·a·ly | \ ə-ˈnäm-ə-lē \
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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Comments on anomaly

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