Definitions for pathologicalˌpæθ əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word pathological

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pathological, pathologic(adj)

    of or relating to the practice of pathology

    "pathological laboratory"

  2. pathological(adj)

    caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition

    "a pathological liar"; "a pathological urge to succeed"

  3. diseased, morbid, pathologic, pathological(adj)

    caused by or altered by or manifesting disease or pathology

    "diseased tonsils"; "a morbid growth"; "pathologic tissue"; "pathological bodily processes"


  1. pathological(Adjective)

    Pertaining to pathology.

  2. pathological(Adjective)

    Relating to or caused by a physical or mental disorder.

  3. pathological(Adjective)

    Having properties which are counterintuitive or difficult to handle.

  4. pathological(Adjective)

    Having properties that cause unusually bad behaviour, especially regarding correctness or performance.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pathological(adj)

    of or pertaining to pathology

  2. Origin: [Gr. : cf. F. pathologique.]


  1. Pathological

    In mathematics, a pathological phenomenon is one whose properties are considered atypically bad or counterintuitive; the opposite is well-behaved. Often, when the usefulness of a theorem is challenged by counterexamples, defenders of the theorem argue that the exceptions are pathological. A famous case is the Alexander horned sphere, a counterexample showing that topologically embedding the sphere S² in R³ may fail to "separate the space cleanly", unless an extra condition of tameness is used to suppress possible wild behaviour. See Jordan-Schönflies theorem. One can therefore say that those searching for the "pathological" are like experimentalists, interested in knocking down potential theorems, in contrast to finding general statements widely applicable. Each activity has its role within mathematics.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. pathological

    1. [scientific computation] Used of a data set that is grossly atypical of normal expected input, esp. one that exposes a weakness or bug in whatever algorithm one is using. An algorithm that can be broken by pathological inputs may still be useful if such inputs are very unlikely to occur in practice. 2. When used of test input, implies that it was purposefully engineered as a worst case. The implication in both senses is that the data is spectacularly ill-conditioned or that someone had to explicitly set out to break the algorithm in order to come up with such a crazy example. 3. Also said of an unlikely collection of circumstances. “If the network is down and comes up halfway through the execution of that command by root, the system may just crash.” “Yes, but that's a pathological case.” Often used to dismiss the case from discussion, with the implication that the consequences are acceptable, since they will happen so infrequently (if at all) that it doesn't seem worth going to the extra trouble to handle that case (see sense 1).

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