Definition of preternatural in US English:


(also praeternatural)


  • Beyond what is normal or natural.

    ‘autumn had arrived with preternatural speed’
    • ‘None of that, however, mitigates the fact that I was a very good hunter - I'm still a good shot - with preternatural hearing and a kind of instinct for finding the animals.’
    • ‘Abruptly, Beth and the other vampire joined the fray, fighting with teeth as well as preternatural speed and strength.’
    • ‘Comic books showed avenging women with preternatural physical power: villains or heroes, depending on one's perspective.’
    • ‘And for a few brief minutes the skies opened and sunlight streamed down from above, lighting the lake from within, giving the jellyfish a preternatural glow.’
    • ‘And truly, the lack of coverage by the world's most powerful media outlets and the fact that all guests are sworn to secrecy gives the whole conference a preternatural aura.’
    • ‘She had the preternatural ability to be alluring and icy at the same time; she could change emotional colors with magnificent yet subtle clarity.’
    • ‘Perhaps we would do well to resist our acquired, self-conscious tendencies, to test our skills at preternatural listening to the rich multitude of stories issuing from the matrix of hurricanes.’
    • ‘In those works, skies and landscapes seem filled with portents, animals convey a preternatural awareness, and lurid light touches everything with strange glamour.’
    • ‘I've mentioned before, the strange - to my way of thinking, preternatural - coincidences that often occur.’
    • ‘Her eyes were actually glowing with their own otherworldly light, and her hair seemed to be floating around her as if a strange preternatural wind was playing with it, toying with the silky tendrils.’
    • ‘All it takes is a preternatural sense of musical trends and history, a cunning knack for timing, and the willingness to completely reinvent yourself.’
    • ‘Having recently met a young Englishman of preternatural charm and physique, I surmised (perhaps wrongly) that after a day in the country together, I had managed to engender his affections.’
    • ‘A spray of green leaves embodies and radiates light against the relatively flat and abstracted background of a blooming meadow; shadows on the brocade reverberate with preternatural energy.’
    • ‘Politicians, pollsters and the public have begun to see the issues of morality and leadership collide rather than converge, leading to contradictory and sometimes preternatural election results.’
    • ‘Harte's stories, in their matter-of-fact referencing of the preternatural and supernatural, and in their blending of the fantastic and the mundane may be seen as affiliates of Magic Realism.’
    • ‘But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.’
    • ‘The daguerreotype process often led to images of preternatural clarity and precision; they must have seemed miraculous in the 1840s.’
    • ‘The preternatural and superior order of the spiritual body over natural bodies is again introduced in Poem 33, which describes the claritas or divine lustre of the resurrected body.’
    • ‘Where others at this point in their careers find themselves trapped by decades of expectations, Cale's strength has never been the vitality of youth, but rather a preternatural maturity.’
    • ‘The assistant moves with preternatural delicacy, and speed, and soon the ant is seated.’
    extraordinary, out of the ordinary, exceptional, unusual, uncommon, rare, singular, signal, peculiar, unprecedented, outstanding, remarkable, phenomenal, abnormal, anomalous, inexplicable, unaccountable
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