Definition of deviation in English:



  • 1The action of departing from an established course or accepted standard.

    ‘deviation from a norm’
    ‘sexual deviation’
    [count noun] ‘deviations from Standard English’
    • ‘The draft report contained a number of deviations from the true faith.’
    • ‘This is where the auditor reports changes, problems, deviations and other anomalies.’
    • ‘We students will discover two deviations from this ideal this week.’
    • ‘These deviations generally increased with increasing offset and diffusion constant.’
    • ‘They were the last social group to accept Islam, and some of the earliest deviations from orthodoxy matured in the Muslim countryside.’
    • ‘Religious deviations were treated as threats to the peace and punished accordingly by the secular rulers.’
    • ‘Citing the idyllic visions of our ancient texts, he drew attention in that address to the deviations from the ideal.’
    • ‘The late 20th century's decline of social deference has led to a journalism which is unforgiving of the elite and its deviations.’
    • ‘This is by no means an attempt to negate the faults, hypocrisies and deviations of the American system.’
    • ‘In addition, it is the treatment of choice for the most serious sexual deviations, such as sexual sadism.’
    • ‘In such circumstances deviations of Muslims from Islamic principles are also attributed to Islam.’
    • ‘As with most careful plans, this one started off with deviations from the standard fly-by.’
    • ‘His route seemed never to alter from Lancaster to Preston with occasional deviations along lanes quite close to the A6.’
    • ‘The final sanction will be given after completion of the construction only if there are no deviations from the original plan.’
    • ‘Can any of the deviations be considered as transitional towards the lower forms of animals?’
    • ‘It said deviations would be taken note of as and when they occurred.’
    • ‘With a few deviations, the open standards of the World Wide Web have been pretty much maintained.’
    • ‘Though purists may lament the film's deviations from the comic book, the mood and most of the characters remain the same.’
    • ‘Even if I don't always follow it to the letter, I've got a rock solid foundation upon which to base my deviations.’
    • ‘There is a procedure, but clearly there have been deviations.’
    divergence, digression, turning aside, departure, deflection, difference, variation, variance, alteration, veering, straying, fluctuation, aberration, abnormality, irregularity, anomaly, inconsistency, discrepancy, variableness, oddness, freakishness
    change, shift, veer, swerve, bend, drift
    View synonyms
  • 2Statistics
    The amount by which a single measurement differs from a fixed value such as the mean.

    ‘a significant deviation from the average value’
    • ‘The sequences were analyzed for randomness in dinucleotide frequencies and no statistically significant deviation was found.’
    • ‘Means and standards deviations for all study variables are reported in Table 1.’
    • ‘Standard deviation is a statistical concept that denotes the amount of variation or deviation that might be expected.’
    • ‘And there was no statistically significant deviation in incidence rates of other cancers attributable to radiation exposure from the accident.’
    • ‘The average numbers and average deviation of five measurements are reported.’
  • 3The deflection of a ship's compass needle caused by iron in the ship.

    • ‘There he began work on compass deviation, a topic he would return to many times.’
    • ‘In 1819 Barlow began work on the problem of deviation in ship compasses caused by the presence of iron in the hull.’


Late Middle English: via French from medieval Latin deviatio(n-), from Latin deviare (see deviate).