Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

preternatural

\pree-tuhr-NACH-uhr-uhl; -NACH-ruhl\ , adjective;
1.
Existing outside of nature; differing from the natural; nonnatural.
2.
Surpassing the usual or normal; extraordinary; abnormal.
3.
Beyond or outside ordinary experience; inexplicable by ordinary means.
Quotes:
Advances in computer technology and bioengineering have made it possible to create human beings of preternatural strength and agility.
-- Gerald Jonas, review of Neuromancer, by William Gibson, New York Times, November 24, 1985
She is a woman of almost preternatural honesty and decency.
-- Janet Malcolm, The Crime of Sheila McGough
Brennan has an almost preternatural understanding of human weakness.
-- Linda Barrett Osborne, review of The Rose Garden, by Maeve Brennan, New York Times, February 20, 2000
We can only guess at the effect all this . . . had on Wordsworth as a small child, but he would have been conscious of it by the time he was four or five, given his preternatural ability to recall sensations from early childhood.
-- Kenneth R. Johnston, The Hidden Wordsworth
Origin:
Preternatural derives from the Latin phrase praeter naturam, "beyond nature."
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