Here's the background: I'm doing research on war criminals convicted by international courts and came up with some striking statistics. Over 80 percent of international convicts have been granted early release without being put on parole. Only one international convict is currently out on parole, making him (a/an/the) __________ anomaly. Is there a word that denotes something that's anomalous in a particular context, but is common or assumed in general contexts?

  • 1
    him/this an anomaly works fine. Alternatively voice your concept: making this otherwise expected outcome an anomaly
    – mplungjan
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 17:47
  • It's an unexpected anomaly in the sense that it was unexpected that it was anomalous.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 18:09
  • Avoid asking for items, ideas, or opinions. Subjective questions will be closed unless the request is expert-level, unique, particularly interesting and thought-provoking, shows substantial effort and research, and demands responses that meet these same standards. See: “Good Subjective, Bad Subjective – SE Blog”; “Real Questions Have Answers – SE Blog”.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


If a particular event is something that would usually be expected but, appearing in the context of surrounding events which - being themselves non-standard - cause it to stand out from its background, then it is a 'normative anomaly'.

That is to say, it is something that is normative but, due to the unusual circumstances in which it occurs, it is anomalous to non-standard surrounding data.

It is time to incorporate the normative anomaly and undertake an investigation [...]

The Regimes of European Integration

Normative Anomaly. The validity of Laws Clause caused a unique legal situation [...]

Human Dignity

The paragraph headed 'Normative Anomaly' in the above quote from Human Dignity explains the term in context.

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