[pree-ter-nach-er-uhl, -nach-ruhl]


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 formspre·ter·nat·u·ral·ism, pre·ter·nat·u·ral·i·ty [pree-ter-nach-uh-ral-i-tee] /ˌpri tərˌnætʃ əˈræl ɪ ti/, pre·ter·nat·u·ral·ness, nounpre·ter·nat·u·ral·ly, adverbun·pre·ter·nat·u·ral, adjectiveun·pre·ter·nat·u·ral·ly, adverb

Synonyms for preternatural

Antonyms for preternatural Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preternatural

Contemporary Examples of preternatural

  • He presided over the preternatural creation of 30 million new jobs—and the sharpest rise in median incomes in a generation.

  • There is an automatism to him, a preternatural talent for responding exactly, and briskly, with what is expected.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Oren Makes Friends, Not News

    Jacob Silverman

    October 16, 2012

  • Schwarzenegger is adept at disguising his true feelings beneath a mask of preternatural calm, but he was suddenly doubly alert.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Arnold Schwarzenegger Comes Clean

    Laurence Leamer

    September 30, 2012

Historical Examples of preternatural

British Dictionary definitions for preternatural



beyond what is ordinarily found in nature; abnormal
another word for supernatural
Derived Formspreternaturally, adverbpreternaturalism, nounpreternaturalness or preternaturality, noun

Word Origin for preternatural

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

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