Meaning of preternatural


Preternatural describes something that seems oddly abnormal and out of sync with everything else. If you hear a preternatural dog’s barking, maybe it sounds like a police siren instead of a howl.

Note that preternatural contains the word natural. Preter comes from the Latin word praeter which means “beyond”; so something preternatural is beyond nature. It is less commonly used than unnatural or supernatural but means the same thing. If you lift a truck off the ground and hold it above your head, people will marvel at you and say you have preternatural strength.

Definitions of preternatural
  1. adjective

    existing outside of or not in accordance with nature


    nonnatural, otherworldly, transcendental


    not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material
  2. adjective

    surpassing the ordinary or normal

    “”Beyond his
    preternatural affability there is some acid and some steel” – George Will”



    beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable

Word Family

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