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See also: Aberration


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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. Equivalent to aberrate +‎ -ion.


  • (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
    • 1961 December, “Talking of Trains: Derailment near Laindon”, in Trains Illustrated, page 717:
      A derailment which occurred on April 18 last between Laindon and Pitsea on the London Tilbury & Southend Line was caused by a lengthman who in a moment of aberration clipped a set of spring catch points in the derailing position, concludes Col. J. R. H. Robertson in his report [...].
  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 the apparent positions of 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]
    1. (astronomy, by extension) The tendency of light rays to preferentially strike the leading face of a moving object (the effect underlying the above phenomenon).
  4. A partial alienation of reason. [Early 19th century.][3]
    • 1819, John Lingard, The History of England, From the First Invasion by the Romans to the Accession of Henry VIII:
      Occasional aberrations of intellect
    • 1828, Isaac Taylor, The balance of criminality:
      We see indeed the aberrations of unruly appetite
  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.
  8. (electronics) A defect in an image produced by an optical or electrostatic lens system.[4]

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Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Aberration at Dictionary.com
  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 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “aberration”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 4.
  4. ^ Penguin Dictionary of Electronics, Fourth Edition, 2005. Penguin Books: London.



From Latin aberrātiōnem, aberrātiō.


  • IPA(key): /a.bɛ.ʁa.sjɔ̃/, /a.be.ʁa.sjɔ̃/
  • (file)


aberration f (plural aberrations)

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

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]