Definition of preternatural
preternaturallyplay \-ˈna-chə-rə-lē, ˈnach-rə-, ˈna-chər-\ adverb
preternaturalnessplay \-ˈna-chə-rəl-nəs, -ˈnach-rəl-\ noun
preternatural was our Word of the Day on 02/01/2009. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of preternatural in a Sentence
She has a preternatural ability to charm people.
There was a preternatural quiet in the house.
Recent Examples of preternatural from the Web
Nevertheless, Ahab exacts total obedience from his ragtag men, with one exception: his prudent first mate, Starbuck (the superb Kareem Bandealy), who though firm and unyielding to his last breath is nevertheless undone by Ahab's preternatural fury.
Coleman, who held the same post for the Hillary Clinton campaign, brings an almost preternatural balance to the role.
At the heart of the Chiron’s ease of use is preternatural steering feedback that recalls that of the racetrack-ready Porsche GT3.
In sum, Ball is a sublime passer with preternatural court vision who makes everyone around him better.
Like Harper, Greene has the requisite combination of generational talent, preternatural charisma and indefinable star power to become an iconic player of his era.
Sanchez gives two mesmerizing performances in one, and has the preternatural ability to switch seamlessly between Ceci’s twisted body and inchoate speech, and her pre-crash physicality and verbal reveries.
Black women have long had to navigate stereotypes that create a similar sort of bind: Our reputed preternatural strength is used as a weapon to force us to withstand greater physical, emotional, and spiritual burdens.
That the brothers are now poised to emerge from the Carwash scandal without facing any criminal charges is a testament to their near-preternatural acumen for bargaining.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preternatural.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Preternatural derives from the Latin praeter naturam, which means "beyond nature." In the 1200s, Medieval Latin scholars rendered the term as "praeternaturalis," and that form inspired the modern English version. Unusual things are sometimes considered positive and sometimes negative, and throughout its history "preternatural" has been used to refer to both exceptionally good things and unnaturally evil ones. In its earliest documented uses in the 1500s, it tended to emphasize the strange, ominous, or foreboding, but by the 1700s, people were using it more benignly to refer to fascinating supernatural (or even heavenly) phenomena. Nowadays, people even use it to describe the remarkable abilities of exceptional humans.
Origin and Etymology of preternatural
Medieval Latin praeternaturalis, from Latin praeter naturam beyond nature
First Known Use: 1580See Words from the same year
PRETERNATURAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of preternatural for English Language Learners
: very unusual in a way that does not seem natural
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up preternatural? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).