American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Out of or being beyond the normal course of nature; differing from the natural.
- adj. Surpassing the normal or usual; extraordinary: "Below his preternatural affability there is some acid and steel” ( George F. Will).
- adj. Transcending the natural or material order; supernatural.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Being beyond what is natural, or different from what is natural; extraordinary: being out of the regular or natural course of things: distinguished from supernatural, being above nature, and unnatural, being contrary to nature.
- Synonyms Miraculous, etc. See supernatural.
- adj. Beyond or different from what is natural or according to the regular course of things; strange; inexplicable; extraordinary; abnormal.
- adj. dated Having an existence outside of the natural world. In this sense, everything supernatural is also preternatural.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Beyond of different from what is natural, or according to the regular course of things, but not clearly supernatural or miraculous; strange; inexplicable; extraordinary; uncommon; irregular; abnormal.
- adj. surpassing the ordinary or normal
- adj. existing outside of or not in accordance with nature
- From Latin preternaturalis/praeternaturalis, from praeter nātūram, from praeter ("beyond") + nātūra ("nature"). (Wiktionary)
- Medieval Latin praeternātūrālis, from Latin praeter nātūrām, beyond nature : praeter, beyond; see preterit + nātūra, nature; see nature. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Conning back for these posts, it was no longer a stream, but more of a river of humanity, with everyone in preternatural good cheer.”
“Following up on a halloween coversation about ghosts, most people don't know the word preternatural--often incorrectly using the word supernatural ("above nature") when they mean preternatural ("beyond nature").”
“Philo's writings, Jewish demonology was propagated among Christian converts, and the Gnostics quickly absorbed and spread the notion of preternatural interposition.”
“There are also secret societies which guard what may be called the preternatural tradition of the tribe, and deduce therefrom the decisions to be arrived at.”
“ By occultism is meant the belief in, and the claim to be able to use, a certain range of forces neither natural, nor, technically, supernatural, but more properly to be called preternatural -- often, though by no means always, for evil or selfish ends.”
“His upper jaw was furnished with two long white sharp-pointed teeth or fangs, such as the reader may have observed in the chaps of a wolf, or full-grown mastiff, and an anatomist would describe as a preternatural elongation of the dentes canini.”
“The popular imagination seems to buy into a mythic understanding of Apple — that Steve Jobs has some kind of preternatural design compass embedded in his brain stem.”
“Warmth should be "preternatural" for a politician?”
“Her confidence is hard to explain -- "preternatural," Ms. Berlinski calls it -- but was rooted in an absolute belief that the socialism undermining her nation's economy was not just wrong but evil because of its corrosive effects on the human spirit.”
“I suspect she is actually a vampire à la Ann Rice, who uses the word 'preternatural' far too much for my liking.”
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