[ out-lahy-er ]
See synonyms for outlier on Thesaurus.com
  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.

  1. Statistics.

    • 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.

    • a person whose abilities, achievements, etc., lie outside the range of statistical probability.

  2. Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion.: Compare inlier.

  3. Obsolete. a person residing outside the place of their business, duty, etc.

Origin of outlier

First recorded in 1600–10; out- + lier

Other words for outlier

Words Nearby outlier

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use outlier in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for outlier


/ (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

  1. a person who lives away from his place of work, duty, etc

  2. 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