WORD! Aberrant

Pierre Metivier

Reading the local news I came across a piece about a con man caught impersonating a lawyer. Of the guilty mans actions his public defender said, “I think this was just a period of aberrant behavior where he took a short cut.”

Aberrant caught my eye—like a game of Mad Libs there are a lot of words that could fit in its place. What exactly did it mean?

Thanks to the trusty wordsmiths at dictionary.com we’ve got our answer:

Aberrant: [uh-ber-uhnt, ab-er-]

1. Departing from the right, normal, or usual course.

2. Deviating from the ordinary, usual or normal type; exceptional; abnormal.

So depending on how you look at it — aberrant could be a compliment!



  1. Could “aberrant” be aberrant in the way it is constructed?

    The word “aberrant” means “straying from the normal” which is exactly what “errant” means: “straying from the proper course”.

    The Latin prefix of “ab” means “away or away from” so, technically, shouldn’t the word “aberrant” mean “away from” “straying from the proper course” which would be the exact reverse of what “aberrant” means.

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