1. the act of deviating.
  2. departure from a standard or norm.
  3. Statistics. the difference between one of a set of values and some fixed value, usually the mean of the set.
  4. Navigation. the error of a magnetic compass, as that of a ship, on a given heading as a result of local magnetism.Compare variation(def 8).
  5. Optics.
    1. Also called deflection.the bending of rays of light away from a straight line.
    2. angle of deviation.
  6. departure or divergence from an established dogma or ideology, especially a Communist one.


  1. an act or result of deviating
  2. statistics the difference between an observed value in a series of such values and their arithmetic mean
  3. the error of a compass due to local magnetic disturbances

1640s, noun of action from deviate (v.). Statistical sense is from 1858. Related: Deviational.


  1. A turning away or aside from a normal course.
  2. An abnormality.
  3. Deviant behavior or attitudes.
  4. The difference, especially the absolute difference, between one number in a set and the mean of the set.

  1. The difference between one number in a set and the mean of the set.

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