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

    • ‘It has been used in gauge theory, instantons, monopoles, string theory and the theory of anomalies.’
    • ‘For his lunar theory [Hipparchus] needed to establish the mean motions of the Moon in longitude, anomaly and latitude.’
    • ‘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).