preternatural[prēt′ər nac̸h′ər əl]
- differing from or beyond what is normally found in or expected from nature; abnormal: preternatural strength
Origin of preternaturalMedieval Latin praeternaturalis
- Surpassing what is normal or usual; extraordinary: “Below his preternatural affability there is some acid and steel” (George F. Will).
- Transcending the natural or material order; supernatural.
Origin of preternaturalMedieval Latin praeternātūrālis, from Latin praeter nātūrām, beyond nature : praeter, beyond; see preterite + nātūra, nature; see Nature .
(comparative more preternatural, superlative most preternatural)
In modern secular use, refers to extraordinary but still natural phenomena, as in â€œpreternatural talentâ€. In religious and occult usage, used similarly to supernatural, meaning â€œoutside of natureâ€, but usually to a lower level than supernatural â€“ it can be used synonymously (identical to supernatural), as a hypernym (a kind of supernatural), or a coordinate term (similar to supernatural, but a distinct category). For example, in Catholic theology, preternatural refers to properties of creatures like angels, while supernatural refers to properties of God alone.