de·​vi·​a·​tion | \ˌdē-vē-ˈā-shən \

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 \ -​shə-​ˌni-​zəm \ noun
deviationist \ -​sh(ə-​)nist \ 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

The public to some extent has grown accustomed to the factual deviations or written them off as unimportant ... James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Hey, Republicans: Pelosi attack ads may not be enough to keep the House," 4 May 2018 Single-member Council districts must be of substantially equal population with a maximum deviation no greater than 10 percent between the most populated and least populated council member district. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Sugar Land appoints redistricting committee, solicits public input," 14 June 2018 In 2015, amid the ongoing stretch of rising water levels in the Great Lakes, the control board implemented a modified regulatory plan that allows it to make small deviations to the amount of water released from Lake Superior without oversight. Tony Briscoe,, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 As such, the deviations from the standard layout feel particularly acute to me. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "The 25th-anniversary ThinkPad: Every laptop should add some retro appeal," 1 Apr. 2018 But in all the rest, there hasn't been much deviation from the original plan, to hear him tell it Thursday. Jon Meoli,, "Try as they might, Orioles can't use out-of-position players as reason for league's worst defense," 12 July 2018 The pick, especially the first name, is a pleasantly surprising deviation from the more traditional, old-fashioned names of other female royals, like Catherine, Charlotte, or Beatrice. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Zara Tindall's New Baby Girl Has So Many Royal Connections in Her Name," 27 June 2018 Previous performers at the festival have included Flume, Empire of the Sun, Giorgio Moroder and — in a rare deviation from the festival’s nearly-all-electronic-music-nearly-all-the-time format — the Flaming Lips and TV On The Radio. George Varga,, "CRSSD Festival announces fall 2018 lineup, including Bob Moses, Marian Hill, Claptone, Sofi Tukker," 28 June 2018 There’s no deviation from the party line as there was when Megyn Kelly was part of the Fox News lineup. David Zurawik,, "Trump propaganda is even worse than you think on Fox News these nights," 17 May 2018

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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Statistics for deviation

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deviation

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

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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

: 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 \

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

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Comments on deviation

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