from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Present in or produced by nature.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or concerning nature.
  • adjective Conforming to the usual or ordinary course of nature.
  • adjective Not acquired; inherent.
  • adjective Having a particular character by nature.
  • adjective Biology Not produced or changed artificially; not conditioned.
  • adjective Characterized by spontaneity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or inhibitions. synonym: naive.
  • adjective Not altered, treated, or disguised.
  • adjective Faithfully representing nature or life.
  • adjective Expected and accepted.
  • adjective Established by moral certainty or conviction.
  • adjective Being in a state regarded as primitive, uncivilized, or unregenerate.
  • adjective Related genetically.
  • adjective Born to parents who have never been married to each other.
  • adjective Mathematics Of or relating to positive integers, sometimes including zero.
  • adjective Not sharped or flatted.
  • adjective Having no sharps or flats.
  • noun One having all the qualifications necessary for success.
  • noun One suited by nature for a certain purpose or function.
  • noun The sign (♮) placed before a note to cancel a preceding sharp or flat.
  • noun A note so affected.
  • noun A yellowish gray to pale orange yellow.
  • noun Games A combination in certain card and dice games that wins immediately.
  • noun An Afro hairstyle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In gaming, anything which wins the stake immediately, such as a throw of 7 or 11 at craps, showing 21 at vingt-et-un, or holding 8 or 9 at baccara. See nick, n., 3.
  • Being such as one or it is by birth or by nature.
  • By birth merely; not legal; illegitimate; bastard; as, a natural son: a use which dates from the beginning of the seventeenth century.
  • Native; native-born; indigenous: as, natural citizens or subjects.
  • Produced or implanted at birth or when constituted or made; conferred by nature; inherent or innate; not acquired or assumed: as, natural disposition; natural beauty; a natural gait.
  • Born; being such as one or it is from birth.
  • In keeping with or proper to the nature, character, or constitution; belonging to birth or constitution; normal: as, the natural position of the body in sleep; the natural color of the hair; hence, as easy, spontaneous, etc., as if constituting a part of or proceeding from the very nature or constitution: as, oratory was natural to him.
  • Hence Not strained or affected; without affectation, artificiality, or exaggeration; easy; unaffected: applied to persons or to their conduct or manners, etc.
  • Obedient to the better impulses of one's nature; affectionate; kindly.
  • In a state of nature; unregenerate; carnal; physical.
  • Formed, produced, or brought about by nature, or by the operations of the laws of nature; real; not artificial or cultivated: as, natural scenery; a natural bridge.
  • Being in conformity with the taws of nature; happening in the ordinary course of things, without the intervention of accident or violence; regulated or determined by the laws which govern events, actions, etc.: as, natural consequences; a natural death.
  • Of or pertaining to nature; connected with or relating to the existing system of things; treating of or derived from nature as known to man, or the world of matter and mind; belonging to nature: as, natural philosophy or history; natural religion or theology; natural laws.
  • Same as naturalistic, 3.
  • In mathematics, having 1 as the base of the system: applied to a function or number belonging or referred to such a system: as, natural numbers (that is, those beginning with 1); natural sines, cosines, etc. (those taken in arcs whose radii are 1).
  • In music, a term applied either
  • to the diatonic or normal scale of C (see scale); or
  • to an air or modulation of harmony which moves by easy and smooth transitions, changing gradually or but little into nearly related keys; or
  • to music produced by the voice, as distinguished from instrumental music; or
  • to the harmonics or overtones given off by any vibrating body over and above its original sound.
  • Where two different persons, though no agreement express or implied had been made, came into such a relation that the pretor was induced to impute to it some of the legal characteristics of an obligation: for example, the fact of becoming unduly enriched at another person's expense.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin nātūrālis, from nātūra, nature; see nature.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French, from Latin nātūrālis, from nātus, the perfect participle of nāscor ("I am born").


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  • Not because so many Americans are ignorant bible-thumping bigots, but because they have a healthy and natural aversion to homosexuality - an aversion *placed there by nature* because it isn't *natural* for people of the same gender to have sexual relations.

    The Mega Collector's Reluctant Dragon Jeff Massie 2009

  • Since the natural end of each person is to achieve moral and spiritual perfection, it is necessary to have the means to do so, i.e., to have rights which, since they serve to realise his or her nature, are called ˜natural™.

    Jacques Maritain Sweet, William 2008

  • Our ˜natural benevolent affections™ guide us to do good toward some small sector of humankind (a small sector composed of our friends, promisees, colleagues, family, etc.), and stifling such natural tendencies would leave only “a very feeble counterpoise to self-love” and thus little from which to develop a more extended and generalized benevolence (434).

    Special Obligations Jeske, Diane 2008

  • It might be thought that there is nothing that can be done to begin a discussion of natural law theory in ethics other than to stipulate a meaning for ˜natural law theory™ and to proceed from there.

    The Natural Law Tradition in Ethics Murphy, Mark 2008

  • Most often, ˜non-naturalism™ denotes the metaphysical thesis that moral properties exist and are not identical with or reducible to any natural property or properties in some interesting sense of ˜natural™.

    Moral Non-Naturalism Ridge, Michael 2008

  • And when Dr. Martineau talks of the "natural penalties for guilt," and adds that "sin being there, it would be simply monstrous that there should be no suffering and would fully justify the despair which now raises its sickly cry of complaint against the retributory wretchedness of human transgression" (_Study_ II., p. 106), the reply is that there are no such things as "_natural_ penalties for guilt."

    Theism or Atheism The Great Alternative Chapman Cohen

  • I am frequently asked if the natural instincts of men and women will not guide aright in the selection of a consort, and my answer is yes, if the instincts of men and women _were natural_.

    How to Become Rich A Treatise on Phrenology, Choice of Professions and Matrimony William Windsor

  • Our natural anticipations deceive us -- I say _natural_ in contra-distinction to extravagant expectations.

    Sermons Preached at Brighton Third Series Frederick W. Robertson

  • We should not object to that inequality which is natural -- to the superior ability and superior virtue which place one man far above his fellows; but we should object to an immense inequality, _which is not natural_, and which sometimes places the superior man at the mercy and in the service of one who has no ability whatever, -- who is simply born to rule by means of _hereditary wealth_.

    The Arena Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891 Various 1888

  • The prophecies of the Bible are not vague general denunciations of natural decline and extinction to all the nations of the world, which, if they were merely the exposition of a universal _natural_ law of national death, they would be; nor yet the application of any such natural and inevitable law to some particular nation, denouncing its destruction, without any specification of time, manner, instrument, or cause of its infliction.

    Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity Robert Patterson 1857


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