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A learned borrowing from Latin aberrātiō (relief, diversion), first attested in 1594 [1], from aberrō (wander away, go astray), from ab (away) + errō (wander)[2]. Compare French aberration. See also aberrate.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæb.əˈɹeɪ.ʃn̩/
  • (file)


aberration (countable and uncountable, plural aberrations)

  1. The act of wandering; deviation from truth, moral rectitude; abnormal; divergence from the straight, correct, proper, normal, or from the natural state. [Late 16th century.][3]
    the aberration of youth
    aberrations from theory
    aberration of character
  2. (optics) The convergence to different foci, by a lens or mirror, of rays of light emanating from one and the same point, or the deviation of such rays from a single focus; a defect in a focusing mechanism that prevents the intended focal point. [Mid 18th century.][3]
  3. (astronomy) A small periodical change of position in the stars and other heavenly bodies, due to the combined effect of the motion of light and the motion of the observer. [Mid 18th century.][3]
  4. A partial alienation of reason. [Early 19th century.][3]
    • (Can we date this quote?), Lingard, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Occasional aberrations of intellect.
    • (Can we date this quote?), I. Taylor, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Whims, which at first are the aberrations of a single brain, pass with heat into epidemic form.
  5. A mental disorder, especially one of a minor or temporary character. [Early 19th century.][3]
  6. (zoology, botany) Atypical development or structure; deviation from the normal type; an aberrant organ. [Mid 19th century.][3]
  7. (medicine) A deviation of a tissue, organ or mental functions from what is considered to be within the normal range.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  1. ^ Aberration at
  2. ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 [1998], →ISBN), page 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 “aberration” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, →ISBN, page 4.



From Latin aberrationem, aberratio.



aberration f (plural aberrations)

  1. aberration
  2. the state of being aberrant
  3. (astronomy) aberration
  4. (optics) aberration
  5. (physiology) aberration or mutation

Further readingEdit