aberration

noun
ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Definition of aberration

1a : 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

Other Words from aberration

aberrational \ ˌa-​bə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce aberration (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for aberration

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 The quarter’s decline could have been dismissed as a hiccup, because Netflix has suspended operations in Russia, but the future projections suggest that this is no aberration. David Sims, The Atlantic, 26 Apr. 2022 That this hasn't happened is seemingly a temporary aberration, with the potency of the technology inevitably likely to win out and achieve the transformational results promised. Adi Gaskell, Forbes, 12 July 2022 The more one considers the American Century, in fact, the more our tenure as global hegemon resembles a historical aberration. Daniel Bessner, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Is this a late-life aberration, or can the tropism be traced to a deeper angst that was missed in its time? The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 Several friends and colleagues of Mr. Smith described the Oscars altercation as a puzzling aberration for a man who has spent his career almost fanatically hewing to professional standards. New York Times, 2 Apr. 2022 In fact, this might be a wake-up call for prosperous democracies: If the long post-war peace is not to be seen as a historical aberration, it must be fought for rather than taken for granted. David Faris, The Week, 3 Mar. 2022 Was this bigger role a one-game aberration or a sign of things to come? Chris Fedor, cleveland, 11 Nov. 2021 But the district’s official projections, completed by Portland State University population experts this summer, indicated that would be a one-year aberration and kindergarten classes would be back to normal levels this year. oregonlive, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of aberration

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for aberration

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

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Time Traveler for aberration

Time Traveler

The first known use of aberration was in 1588

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Dictionary Entries Near aberration

aberrated

aberration

aberrative

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Statistics for aberration

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aberration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aberration. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for aberration

aberration

noun
ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Kids Definition of aberration

: an instance of being different from what is normal or usual The poor test grade was an aberration for her.

aberration

noun
ab·​er·​ra·​tion | \ ˌab-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aberration (audio) \

Medical Definition of aberration

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

Other Words from aberration

aberrational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​əl How to pronounce aberration (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on aberration

Nglish: Translation of aberration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aberration for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aberration

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