9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ab-nawr-muh l] /æbˈnɔr məl/
not normal, average, typical, or usual; deviating from a standard:
abnormal powers of concentration; an abnormal amount of snow; abnormal behavior.
extremely or excessively large:
abnormal profit.
Origin of abnormal
1850-55; ab- + normal; replacing anormal < Medieval Latin anōrmālus, variant of anōmālus anomalous influenced by Latin norma norm
Related forms
abnormally, adverb
abnormalness, noun
superabnormal, adjective
superabnormally, adverb
Can be confused
abnormal, subnormal.
1. anomalous, aberrant, irregular, deviant, unnatural, odd. See irregular. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for abnormal
  • abnormal gait may be caused by diseases in many different areas of the body.
  • With the latest grants, researchers will sequence abnormal genes that may help cause cancer and other common diseases.
  • There's nothing abnormal about the recession's causes.
  • Then researchers spot something abnormal in your head.
  • If seeds germinated,the kids were to report any normal or abnormal growth due to mutations from radiation and/or lack of gravity.
  • Lastly, they can check to see if the individuals involved share an abnormal variant of that gene.
  • But there is an abnormal weak spot in the planet's magnetic field at that point.
  • Some blood stem cells can develop into abnormal versions, although the immune system usually stamps them out.
  • Dystonias are abnormal involuntary muscle tone and movements in groups of muscles.
  • Urine of an abnormal color appears different from the usual straw-yellow color.
British Dictionary definitions for abnormal


not normal; deviating from the usual or typical; extraordinary
(informal) odd in behaviour or appearance; strange
Derived Forms
abnormally, adverb
Word Origin
C19: ab-1 + normal, replacing earlier anormal from Medieval Latin anormalus, a blend of Late Latin anōmalusanomalous + Latin abnormis departing from a rule
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abnormal

1835, displaced older abnormous (1742) and rival anormal (1835) under influence of Latin abnormis "deviating from a rule," from ab- "off, away from" (see ab-) + norma "rule" (see norm). The older forms were via Old French anormal (13c.), from Medieval Latin anormalos, from Greek anomalos, from an- "not" + homalos, from homos "same." The Greek word was altered in Latin by association with norma. Related: Abnormally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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