Definition of anomaly in English:



  • 1Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

    ‘there are a number of anomalies in the present system’
    [with clause] ‘the apparent anomaly that those who produced the wealth were the poorest’
    [mass noun] ‘the position abounds in anomaly’
    • ‘Or is this just an anomaly that all of Africa and all of the world should regret, do you think?’
    • ‘But modern nationhood is a complicated business, so you'd expect anomalies.’
    • ‘It's odd to think of myself as an anomaly, a quirk, an oddity, but that's what I am at the moment.’
    • ‘The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place at Villa Park and it's a curious anomaly that whenever he has found the net we have always won.’
    • ‘When did the Government realise there was the anomaly that my colleague has pointed out?’
    • ‘I would like to address an anomaly that I have picked up in the agriculture supplementary estimates.’
    • ‘There was at least one anomaly that nobody seemed able to explain.’
    • ‘It affects their pension rights and it's an anomaly that needs to be removed for those who want to work beyond 65.’
    • ‘It is hoped these anomalies will not be present in the production version.’
    • ‘In that incident, an anomaly that has existed in the Service for decades has come to the fore.’
    • ‘This would put an end to the archaic anomaly that in the UK we are subjects, not citizens.’
    • ‘This legislation will get rid of an anomaly that has bothered me and other members of the Labour Party for a long time.’
    • ‘It's the kind of anomaly that gets into the tax code unintentionally and then can't be gotten rid of.’
    • ‘It was an historical anomaly that led to the collapse of the British motor industry in the West Midlands.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the anomalies surrounding eligibility for the Commonwealth Games abound.’
    • ‘Legal anomalies and irresponsible GPs who over-prescribed forced a change in policy and a legal crackdown.’
    • ‘Field workers are currently investigating another anomaly that turned up in the survey.’
    • ‘It was a departure in style for him and today stands alone as something of an anomaly in his back-catalogue.’
    • ‘The bill corrects an anomaly that exists in respect of collective negotiations for teachers.’
    • ‘In every country the meteorologists are thinking that these anomalies are just present in their region.’
    oddity, peculiarity, abnormality, irregularity, inconsistency, incongruity, deviation, aberration, quirk, freak, exception, departure, divergence, variation
    rarity, eccentricity
    View synonyms
  • 2Astronomy
    The angular distance of a planet or satellite from its last perihelion or perigee.

    • ‘For his lunar theory [Hipparchus] needed to establish the mean motions of the Moon in longitude, anomaly and latitude.’
    • ‘It has been used in gauge theory, instantons, monopoles, string theory and the theory of anomalies.’
    • ‘Such processing efforts have led to determinations of satellite magnetic anomalies of the Earth.’


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek anōmalia, from anōmalos (see anomalous).