aberration

noun

ab·​er·​ra·​tion ˌa-bə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio)
1
a
: the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state
aberrations of character
b
: something or someone regarded as atypical and therefore able to be ignored or discounted
Harkins was to be regarded as an aberration among American military leaders …Neil Sheehan
The U.S. establishment treated this grassroots movement almost as an aberration, virtually ignoring it.Helen Caldicott
As for Putin's desire to lay waste to Chechnya, Western leaders largely dismiss it as an aberrationThe New Republic
2
: failure of a mirror, refracting surface, or lens to produce exact point-to-point correspondence between an object and its image
chromatic aberration
… the telescope suffers from a serious focusing problem, a condition known as spherical aberration, which causes the point-like images of stars to be surrounded by fuzzy haze.M. Mitchell Waldrop
3
: unsoundness or disorder of the mind
4
: a small periodic change of apparent position in celestial bodies due to the combined effect of the motion of light and the motion of the observer
5
: an aberrant individual
aberrational adjective
aberrational behavior
They react, often in anger, to particular decisions but tend to regard them as aberrational rather than systemic failures. Robert H. Bork

Examples of aberration in a Sentence

Recently geneticists have taken a closer look at a genetic aberration previously considered rare … . The genes may be perfectly normal, yet there is a shortage or surplus of DNA sequences that may play a role in diseases that defy straightforward genetic patterns … Melinda Wenner, Scientific American, June 2009
He did hit five homers for Texas in 1987, but that was an aberration. In no other major league season has he hit more than three, and last season he actually came up with a goose egg. E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 5 Apr. 1989
Gilliard's studies of numerous bird of paradise species brought them from the realm of exotic aberrations to the forefront of sociobiology. Jared M. Diamond, Nature, 24-30 Sept. 1981
For her, such a low grade on an exam was an aberration. a study of sexual aberration
Recent Examples on the Web Unfortunately, the hatred of America is not an aberration from, but rather an extension of, the worldview often pushed on college campuses these days. Lauren Noble, National Review, 19 May 2024 Others contend that the outcome was merely an aberration. Maya King, New York Times, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for aberration 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aberration.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin aberrātiōn-, aberrātiō "diversion, relief," from aberrāre "to wander away" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at aberrant entry 1

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of aberration was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near aberration

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

aberration

noun
ab·​er·​ra·​tion ˌab-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio)
1
: the act of differing especially from a moral standard or normal state
2
: unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3
: a small regularly occurring change of apparent position in heavenly bodies due to the combined effect of the motion of light and the motion of the observer

Medical Definition

aberration

noun
ab·​er·​ra·​tion ˌab-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio)
1
: failure of a mirror, refracting surface, or lens to produce exact point-to-point correspondence between an object and its image
2
: unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3
: an aberrant organ or individual
aberrational adjective

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