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[pree-ter-nach-er-uh l, -nach-ruh l] /ˌpri tərˈnætʃ ər əl, -ˈnætʃ rəl/
out of the ordinary course of nature; exceptional or abnormal:
preternatural powers.
outside of nature; supernatural.
Origin of preternatural
1570-80; < Medieval Latin praeternātūrālis, adj. based on Latin phrase praeter nātūram beyond nature. See preter-, natural
Related forms
preternaturalism, preternaturality
[pree-ter-nach-uh-ral-i-tee] /ˌpri tərˌnætʃ əˈræl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
preternaturalness, noun
preternaturally, adverb
unpreternatural, adjective
unpreternaturally, adverb
1. unusual, extraordinary, unnatural. See miraculous.
1. ordinary, usual. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preternatural
  • The premise of the show, however, is that the truth can involve either preternatural or supernatural causes.
  • preternatural academic politics began to take the place of open discourse.
  • Although speed has always been his trademark, he may not yet have understood that his speed was preternatural.
  • But for some, a preternatural capacity for concentration and near-total recall matter more.
  • Still, the preternatural beauty of the voice made a lingering impression.
  • Part of this had to do with his preternatural talent.
  • Still, it possesses an almost preternatural element that enables it to remain fun even in the face of such mounting frustration.
  • Some people argue that my ability to see the future is downright preternatural.
  • Dong's keen listening and preternatural patience help examine the full ramifications of such rage.
  • Fuller's preternatural confidence is matched by a rare wisdom in selecting collaborators.
British Dictionary definitions for preternatural


beyond what is ordinarily found in nature; abnormal
another word for supernatural
Derived Forms
preternaturally, adverb
preternaturalism, noun
preternaturalness, preternaturality, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin praeternātūrālis, from Latin praeter natūram beyond the scope of nature
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
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Word Origin and History for preternatural

1570s, from Medieval Latin preternaturalis (mid-13c.), from Latin phrase praeter naturam (praeterque fatum) "beyond nature (and beyond fate)," from praeter "beyond" (see preterite) + accusative of natura "nature" (see natural).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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