Supernatural, Preternatural. Preternatural signifies beside nature, and supernatural, above or beyond nature. What is very greatly aside from the ordinary course of things is preternatural; what is above or beyond the established laws of the universe is supernatural. The dark day which terrified all Europe nearly a century ago was preternatural; the resurrection of the dead is supernatural. That form which the earth is under at present is preternatural, like a statue made and broken again. . Cures wrought by medicines are natural operations; but the miraculous ones wrought by christ and his apostles were supernatural. . That is supernatural, whether it be, that is either not in the chain of natural cause and effect, or which acts on the chain of cause and effect in nature, from without the chain. (Bushnell) We must not view creation as supernatural, but we do look upon it as miraculous. (McCosh) The supernatural, whatever is above and beyond the scope, or the established course, of the laws of nature. Nature and the supernatural.
Origin: Pref. Super- _ natural: cf. OF. Supernaturel, F. Surnaturel.