Anything that varies from the accepted norm or standard is called a deviation. It is common in math and science, but it can refer to anything that differs from the expected.

Deviation in nature is an important part of evolution. When something causes a creature’s DNA to change, it creates a deviation, or a changed characteristic. If the deviation makes the organism better able to survive, it passes the change on to its descendants. People are naturally given to change, so there are deviations in critical thought as well as in math and science. Those deviations often account for the creativity that gives rise to new ideas, or theories, or even musical styles.

Definitions of deviation

n a variation that deviates from the standard or norm

“the deviation from the mean”
departure, difference, divergence
discrepancy, variance, variant
an event that departs from expectations
the deviation (by a vessel or aircraft) from its intended course due to drifting
flection, flexion, inflection
deviation from a straight or normal course
Type of:
fluctuation, variation
an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change

n a turning aside (of your course or attention or concern)

deflection, deflexion, digression, divagation, diversion
red herring
any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
Type of:
turn, turning
the act of changing or reversing the direction of the course

n deviate behavior

Type of:
abnormality, irregularity
behavior that breaches the rule or etiquette or custom or morality

n the difference between an observed value and the expected value of a variable or function

an extreme deviation from the mean
mean deviation, mean deviation from the mean
the arithmetic mean of the absolute values of deviations from the mean of a distribution
Type of:
a datum that can be represented numerically

n the error of a compass due to local magnetic disturbances

Type of:
erroneousness, error
inadvertent incorrectness

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