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

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 preternaturally

Contemporary Examples of preternaturally

Historical Examples of preternaturally

  • Natt's drowsy eyes were preternaturally bright at that great moment.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • She was very pale, and her eyes were dilating and preternaturally bright.

  • But when he stirred, her eyes were wide and preternaturally bright, and held him.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • She was small and slight for her twelve years, and preternaturally grave.

  • How preternaturally still every thing seemed—what an intensity of silence!

    The Island Home

    Richard Archer

British Dictionary definitions for preternaturally


  1. beyond what is ordinarily found in nature; abnormal
  2. 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 preternaturally



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