Definition of preternatural in US English:


(also praeternatural)


  • Beyond what is normal or natural.

    ‘autumn had arrived with preternatural speed’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The daguerreotype process often led to images of preternatural clarity and precision; they must have seemed miraculous in the 1840s.’
    • ‘But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had the preternatural ability to be alluring and icy at the same time; she could change emotional colors with magnificent yet subtle clarity.’
    • ‘Abruptly, Beth and the other vampire joined the fray, fighting with teeth as well as preternatural speed and strength.’
    • ‘I've mentioned before, the strange - to my way of thinking, preternatural - coincidences that often occur.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In those works, skies and landscapes seem filled with portents, animals convey a preternatural awareness, and lurid light touches everything with strange glamour.’
    • ‘Comic books showed avenging women with preternatural physical power: villains or heroes, depending on one's perspective.’
    • ‘The assistant moves with preternatural delicacy, and speed, and soon the ant is seated.’
    • ‘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.’
    extraordinary, out of the ordinary, exceptional, unusual, uncommon, rare, singular, signal, peculiar, unprecedented, outstanding, remarkable, phenomenal, abnormal, anomalous, inexplicable, unaccountable
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