An aberration is something strange that rarely occurs. An example of an aberration is when the temperature hits 90 degrees in January — it's nice and warm, but it's really strange.

The noun aberration often refers to something that doesn't fit with current moral standards, or is something that shows a mental lack of control. Aberration comes from the Latin word that means "to wander, go astray." Today, you'd say it was an aberration to send little children to work in coal mines and factories and not to school, which was common in the nineteenth century. There's a very old poem called "The Chimney Sweep" about a boy who cleans chimneys and is only about five years old!

Definitions of aberration

n a state or condition markedly different from the norm

aberrance, aberrancy, deviance
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chromosomal aberration, chromosomal anomaly, chromosonal disorder, chrosomal abnormality
any change in the normal structure or number of chromosomes; often results in physical or mental abnormalities
deflection, warp
a twist or aberration; especially a perverse or abnormal way of judging or acting
chromosomal abnormality consisting of the absence of one chromosome from the normal diploid number
chrosomal abnormality in which there is one more than the normal number of chromosomes in a cell
sex-linked disorder
any disease or abnormality that is determined by the sex hormones
Type of:
abnormalcy, abnormality
an abnormal physical condition resulting from defective genes or developmental deficiencies

n a disorder in one's mental state

Type of:
disturbance, folie, mental disorder, mental disturbance, psychological disorder
(psychiatry) a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than mental illness

n an optical phenomenon resulting from the failure of a lens or mirror to produce a good image

distortion, optical aberration
chromatic aberration
an optical aberration in which the image has colored fringes
spherical aberration
an optical aberration resulting in a distorted image
Type of:
optical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon related to or involving light

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