non·​nat·​u·​ral ˌnän-ˈna-chə-rəl How to pronounce nonnatural (audio)
: not natural
a nonnatural way of viewing things
Although these anomalous events are beyond nature, in one sense, proponents of them seek to offer some kind of empirical evidence to support their hypotheses that there are nonnatural, nonmaterial, or spiritual processes at work in the universe.Paul Kurtz
Three years from now, gunfire may surpass cars to become the leading cause of nonnatural death in the United States.Newsweek

Examples of nonnatural in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Much of synthetic biology involves genetic engineering to introduce networks of genes that give cells new functions, such as manufacturing enzymes to make a nonnatural molecule. Philip Ball, Scientific American, 18 Apr. 2023 The latter discipline has racked up impressive achievements in retooling cells for nonnatural tasks—for example, programming bacteria to glow in the presence of pollutants and other chemicals. Philip Ball, Scientific American, 18 Apr. 2023 Although some wildfires in California are ignited by lightning, a vast majority have nonnatural causes — sparks from electrical equipment, the heat of a lawn mower engine or, in the case of one of the state’s largest fires, a man hammering a stake into the ground. New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 The increase in mortality has been especially stark among working-age males, with increases in death rates from alcohol, violence, and other nonnatural causes. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2023 Purified, nonnatural diets such as AIN-93, which contain refined, easy-to-digest ingredients, can lead to various abnormalities in lab mice that could affect experimental results, including a buildup of fat, a loss of normal intestinal bacteria, and a reduction in the size of the intestines. Mennatella Ibrahim, Science | AAAS, 17 June 2021 After 26 days in the calm of the canyon walls, without the noise of cars or almost any nonnatural noise, helicopters began to appear overhead, landing on a pad just above the river, where tourists sat at tables with umbrellas for the quick sightseeing trip advertised on the Vegas Strip. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, 30 June 2020 In several landscapes, including Lundbye’s, a distinctive nonnatural element recurs: a prehistoric stone structure of upright boulders with a capstone known as a dolmen. Holland Cotter, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2023 In the Bahamas, 27 U.S. citizens have died from nonnatural causes, including drownings, vehicle accidents and homicide, from January 2018 to June 2021, according to the most recent available State Department data. Omar Abdel-Baqui, WSJ, 9 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonnatural.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1650, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonnatural was in 1650

Dictionary Entries Near nonnatural

Cite this Entry

“Nonnatural.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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