Word of the Day : February 1, 2018


adjective pree-ter-NATCH-uh-rul


1 : existing outside of nature

2 : exceeding what is natural or regular : extraordinary

3 : inexplicable by ordinary means; especially : psychic

Did You Know?

Preternatural derives from the Latin phrase praeter naturam, which means "beyond nature." 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 regularly use it to describe the remarkable abilities of exceptional humans.


"[Steven] Spielberg has ridden his preternatural talent to a career that has brought in nearly $10 billion at the box office, around $3 billion more than his nearest competitor. He's the ideal of a Hollywood director." — Ryan Bort, Newsweek, 29 Sept. 2017

"He has an almost preternatural emotional intelligence; when we meet for the second time I give him a hug, and he calls me out on it: 'What's up with that hug? That didn't have any feeling! Where's my hug?'" — Allison Samuels, Wired, February 2017

Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of preternatural: AHLNEUTYR.



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