When the word anomaly was first borrowed into English in the 1570s, it meant something more like "unevenness" than its modern definition, but it was an easy extension from there to a connotation of "deviation from the ordinary" that developed in the 1660s. Before then, the word came from Latin anomalia, which came from Greek anomalos, which essentially had the same meaning. Here it gets interesting as we break apart anomalos into two: the prefix an- means "not" and the root homalos means "even", so an anomaly is, etymologically, "uneven". Homalos is from homos, meaning "same" (and the same root as can be found in words like homosexual and homogenous), which derives from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction sem, which could mean "one" or "together". Quite interesting!
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd