View synonyms for outlier


[ out-lahy-er ]


  1. something that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of, such 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.

  2. someone who stands apart from other members of a group, such as by differing behavior, beliefs, or religious practices:

    There are a few scientists who are outliers in their views on climate change.

    Synonyms: outsider, heretic, iconoclast, dissenter, dissident, bohemian, eccentric, original, maverick, nonconformist

  3. Statistics.
    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.
  4. Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion. Compare inlier.
  5. Obsolete. a person residing outside the place of their business, duty, etc.


/ ˈaʊtˌlaɪə /


  1. an outcrop of rocks that is entirely surrounded by older rocks
  2. a person, thing, or part situated away from a main or related body
  3. a person who lives away from his place of work, duty, etc
  4. 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 History and Origins

Origin of outlier1

First recorded in 1600–10; out- + lier
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Example Sentences

This database should cover design projects in all sectors and domains, not just those in machine learning, and explicitly acknowledge absences and outliers.

First off, they are an outlier among this year’s top defenses.

Put another way, states that are outliers based on some combination of the variables listed above tend to be harder to predict.

More recently, machine-learning based approaches try to identify patterns of normal activity and raise flags only when outliers are detected.

This week was also a good reminder that outliers can occur in either direction.

But Florida is kind of an outlier, because culturally, only the northern half of Florida is Dixie.

Egeland is something of an outlier among the worldwide community of humanitarians because he says this sort of thing out loud.

Actually, the United States is an outlier among democracies in granting such generous free speech guarantees.

In comparison to other NWO conspiracy theorists, experts say Ciancia is an outlier.

Said Fidas: “ExxonMobil remains a significant holdout with respect to LGBT equality and in many ways an outlier.”

It is on this series that the Shannon rises, under the high outlier of grit on Cuilcagh.

The extreme south-east of the county includes part of the Triassic outlier of Kingscourt.

This mighty outlier was the one object which riveted our eyes, quite eclipsing the more distant glories of the Bernina.

It does not reach 10,000 feet, and it is out-topped by a southern outlier, probably Monte Frerone.

From its position as an outlier of the great chain, we had expected much from the Adamello, and now we were not disappointed.





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