Saturday, October 15, 2011

Word for the Day: Outlier

I just ran across the word Outlier for the first time today. Don't you love it? It's going on my future titles list. Seriously, wouldn't it make a great book title?

What does Outlier mean? An outlier basically skews numbers. Its the sample maximum and sample minimum. In writers parlance, example of outliers might be: Stephen King, Norah Roberts, James Patterson and Stephanie Meyer. Wikipedia, says ' In statistics, an outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data. Yup that still fits in our writer's scenario.

Okay, what are the causes of outliers? As far as our author outliers, I'd have to say damn fine writing, though that wasn't mentioned on Wiki:) One of Wikipedia's thoughts: A sample may have been contaminated with elements from outside the population being examined. Hmm, translation, our author outliers must think outside the box.

Wiki talked about 'fat tails' in outliers non normal distribution. Nope not touching that one other than to say its a large skew. Or maybe that should be large tales?

I'm going to end with another Wiki quote on outliers that I felt was apropos to our top notch writers:

"Caution:Unless it can be ascertained that the deviation is not significant, it is ill-advised to ignore the presence of outliers. Outliers that cannot be readily explained demand special attention."

Information on the word outlier found at:
Picture from:

1 comment:

  1. Well, I've learned something today. I hadn't heard of the word before.