By Deane Barker

Definition: existing outside of nature; inexplicable by ordinary means

I can’t quite figure out how this is different from “supernatural.”

After some research, as near as I can tell, “preternaturally” means something extraordinary or explainable, but still within the bounds of physical possibility and reality. It’s often used to describe a high level of skill.

“Supernatural” is something clearly caused by or related to things beyond/above the natural world.

Why I Looked It Up

From a movie review blurb in the New York Times.

In “Last Night in Soho,” the lives of a modern-day fashion student and a singer from the 1960s preternaturally fuse, resulting in gorgeous horror.

That actually seems to be a mis-use of the term. Based on my understanding of the movie, it should be “supernaturally fuse.”

This is item #516 in a sequence of 696 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate