A change to the norm is called a variance. It suggests a difference or shifting away from the expected or usual, an example being snow in July, which is a variance in the weather of the United States, even in Minnesota.

When the word variance is used in a comparison, it is usually preceded by the word "at," as in "Her values were at variance with her actions," meaning the two differed. This makes sense, as the word, first seen in Middle English, comes from the Latin verb variāre, which means "to change." If a contractor needs to go outside the standing building code, he needs to obtain a variance, which is legal permission to make a change from the norm.

Definitions of variance

n the quality of being subject to variation

variability, variableness
invariability, invariableness, invariance
the quality of being resistant to variation
characterized by variation
variability in coloration
personal equation
variability attributable to individual differences
Type of:
changeability, changeableness
the quality of being changeable; having a marked tendency to change

n an activity that varies from a norm or standard

Type of:
any specific behavior

n an event that departs from expectations

discrepancy, variant
Type of:
departure, deviation, difference, divergence
a variation that deviates from the standard or norm

n a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions

disagreement, discrepancy, divergence
allowance, leeway, margin, tolerance
a permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits
Type of:
the quality of being unlike or dissimilar

n discord that splits a group

Type of:
discord, dissension
disagreement among those expected to cooperate

n an official dispensation to act contrary to a rule or regulation (typically a building regulation)

“a zoning variance
Type of:
an exemption from some rule or obligation

n the second moment around the mean; the expected value of the square of the deviations of a random variable from its mean value

standard deviation
the square root of the variance
(statistics) the mean value of the product of the deviations of two variates from their respective means
Type of:
the n-th moment of a distribution is the expected value of the n-th power of the deviations from a fixed value

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