9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[out-lahy-er] /ˈaʊtˌlaɪ ər/
something that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of, as a cow far from the rest of the herd, or a distant island belonging to a cluster of islands:
The small factory was an outlier, and unproductive, so the corporation sold it off to private owners who were able to make it profitable.
someone who stands apart from others of his or her group, as by differing behavior, beliefs, or religious practices:
scientists who are outliers in their views on climate change.
  1. an observation that is well outside of the expected range of values in a study or experiment, and which is often discarded from the data set:
    Experience with a variety of data-reduction problems has led to several strategies for dealing with outliers in data sets.
  2. a person whose abilities, achievements, etc., lie outside the range of statistical probability.
Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion.
Compare inlier.
Obsolete. a person residing outside the place of his or her business, duty, etc.
Origin of outlier
1600-10; out- + lier Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for outliers
  • Sometimes, a plateau is so eroded that it is broken up into smaller raised sections called outliers.
  • What defines the norm better than the statistical outliers the extremes.
  • In any random process, there is a distribution, and of course some will be outliers on both ends of the curve.
  • As a statistician, she shouldn't make too much of outliers.
  • In fact, many times the outliers get thrown out to better make sense of the data.
  • Yet, when considering the average student, the potential learning and the potential for failure have much wider outliers.
  • outliers can be found on the other side of the chart as well.
  • But these are the true outliers in a gradual development of baseball around the world.
  • The successes in a zero sum trading game are the positive outliers.
  • In a meltdown, however, a few outliers lose far more than the average.
British Dictionary definitions for outliers


an outcrop of rocks that is entirely surrounded by older rocks
a person, thing, or part situated away from a main or related body
a person who lives away from his place of work, duty, etc
(statistics) a point in a sample widely separated from the main cluster of points in the sample See scatter diagram
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 outliers



c.1600, "stone quarried and removed but left unused," from out + lie (v.2). Transferred meaning "outsider" is recorded from 1680s; "anything detached from its main body" is from 1849; geological sense is from 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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