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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Any significant deviation from your usual numbers can give you a clear idea that something’s off-course. Expert Panel, Forbes, 25 May 2021 Yoon wants people to see edible insects as a natural extension of their current diet rather than some big quirky deviation from it. Kate Knibbs, Wired, 11 May 2021 The Chinese rocket, estimated to weigh over 20 tons, is the largest space object to return uncontrolled to Earth in nearly three decades -- and a major deviation from the practice of other space agencies. James Griffiths, CNN, 10 May 2021 This decade-long deviation yielded a trilogy of best-selling National Geographic coffee-table books of aerial photos taken in Africa, Latin America and the Arctic, and two children’s books. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, 4 Apr. 2021 The initial petition, from October 2020, said an Accord owner experienced deviation from the intended path of travel without warning or driver input. Laura Sky Brown, Car and Driver, 10 May 2021 Up until then, synthesizer use had been limited to experimental music; Switched-On marked a deviation from those avant-garde roots and paved the way for bringing synths into popular music. Beth Holzer, Wired, 7 May 2021 Disney Plus is mixing things up with its release of Loki, moving up its premiere date and changing the whole schedule for new episodes going forward, a deviation from its normal Friday releases. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 6 May 2021 That hotel, a Hampton Inn & Suites, still will require a deviation because there won’t be a restaurant contained within the building. Suzanne Baker,, 4 Apr. 2021

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.

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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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Learn More About deviation

Time Traveler for deviation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deviation

Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deviation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for deviation



English Language Learners Definition of deviation

: an action, behavior, or condition that is different from what is usual or expected
technical : the difference between the average of a group of numbers and a particular number in that group


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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