de·​vi·​a·​tion | \ ˌdē-vē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce deviation (audio) \

Definition of deviation

: an act or instance of deviating: such as
a navigation : deflection of the needle of a compass caused by local magnetic influences (as in a ship)
b mathematics : the difference between a value in a frequency distribution and a fixed number (such as the mean)
c : departure from an established ideology or party line deviation from Communist orthodoxy
d : noticeable or marked departure from accepted norms (see norm sense 2) of behavior

Other Words from deviation

deviationism \ ˌdē-​vē-​ˈā-​shə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce deviation (audio) \ noun
deviationist \ ˌdē-​vē-​ˈā-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce deviation (audio) \ noun or adjective

Examples of deviation in a Sentence

There have been slight deviations in the satellite's orbit. Having juice instead of coffee was a deviation from his usual routine. The pattern's deviation from the norm is significant.
Recent Examples on the Web Buckingham agreed that value stocks have done much better since Halloween but pointed out that the deviation in return between value and growth has been extraordinarily high over the last five to 10 years. Jacob Wolinsky, Forbes, 8 June 2022 That seems a bit unusual once police are out of their vehicle and near the car, and may have been a deviation from the best procedure. Brad Templeton, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 But returning portions of downtown from District 5 to District 1 brings the entire map’s deviation closer to 8 percent. Megan Stringer, San Antonio Express-News, 8 June 2022 The bidding papers also gave the RDC the right to waive any deviation in bidding deemed to be in the best interest of the city, such as dividing the land into multiple projects. Carrie Napoleon,, 18 Feb. 2022 The noun enormity, dating in English from the late 1400s, originally denoted either (1) deviation from sound morality; or (2) a crime, offense, or monstrous transgression. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, 9 June 2022 The comment, which Biden made during a trip to Japan, was taken by some observers as a deviation from the official U.S. line on Taiwan, in place for decades. Meredith Oyen, The Conversation, 24 May 2022 Leaving a stable job for a convict is a major deviation from societal norms, Bourke said. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 7 May 2022 YouTube Go was actually a wild deviation from the normal YouTube formula, thanks to being targeted at users with intermittent Internet access. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 4 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of deviation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deviation

see deviate entry 1

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Time Traveler for deviation

Time Traveler

The first known use of deviation was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deviation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for deviation


de·​vi·​a·​tion | \ ˌdē-vē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce deviation (audio) \

Medical Definition of deviation

: an act or instance of diverging from an established way or in a new direction: as
a : evolutionary differentiation involving interpolation of new stages in the ancestral pattern of morphogenesis
b : noticeable or marked departure from accepted norms of behavior

More from Merriam-Webster on deviation

Nglish: Translation of deviation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deviation for Arabic Speakers


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