October 22, 2021

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Word + Quiz: aberration

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1. a state or condition markedly different from the norm

2. a disorder in one’s mental state

3. an optical phenomenon resulting from the failure of a lens or mirror to produce a good image

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The word aberration has appeared in 93 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Feb. 3 in “These Women Were N.F.L. ‘Firsts.’ They’re Eager for Company” by Gillian R. Brassil and Kevin Draper:

The football pioneers arrived quickly over the past year: the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl, the first woman chosen to officiate a Super Bowl, the first Black woman to be named a full-time coach in the N.F.L.

Other professional sports had groundbreaking moments, as well, in the past year. The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as M.L.B.’s first female general manager and Becky Hammon became the first woman to serve as a head coach in the N.B.A. But the ascent of women to top sports jobs remains an aberration and not the norm, as it is for men to lead many women’s professional and college teams.

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