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supernatural and preternatural

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 02:21 pm
What is the difference in meaning, if any, between supernatural and preternatural?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 669 • Replies: 7
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 07:46 pm
That's a good question, Equus. I always thought that they were synonymous. I'll have to check it out.
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Prospero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 07:54 pm
supernatural

adj. not conforming to known natural forces or laws, beyond what is natural or normal; magical, mystical; of or pertaining to God

n. something supernatural, phenomena which does not conform to known natural forces or laws (such as ghosts)


preternatural [pre·ter·nat·u·ral || ‚prɪːtə(r)'nætʃrəl]

adj. supernatural, exceeding the usual powers of nature; unnatural, exceptional, abnormal


Seemingly little difference so far.
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Prospero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 07:57 pm
Wikipedia also uses the words interchangeably:

Supernatural
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The supernatural refers to conscious magical, religious or unknown forces that cannot ordinarily be perceived except through their effects. This word is often used interchangeably with preternatural or paranormal. Unlike natural forces, these putative supernatural forces can not be shown to exist by the scientific method. Supernatural claims assert phenomena beyond the realm of current scientific understanding, which are often in direct conflict with current scientific theory.

A concept of the supernatural is generally identified with religion, or unorganised forms of belief, although there is much debate as to whether a conception of the supernatural is necessary for religion (see The nature of God in Western theology and Anthropology of religion).

The supernatural is also a topic in various genres of fiction, such as fantasy and horror. Some examples of supernatural phenomena are miracles and ghosts; psychic abilities like psychokinesis and telepathy are better classified as paranormal than supernatural.
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Prospero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 08:00 pm
Answers.com: http://www.answers.com/topic/supernatural

supernatural
Dictionary
su·per·nat·u·ral (sū'pər-năch'ər-əl) pronunciation
adj.

1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
3. Of or relating to a deity.
4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
5. Of or relating to the miraculous.

n.

That which is supernatural.




http://www.answers.com/topic/preternatural
preternatural
Dictionary
pre·ter·nat·u·ral (prē'tər-năch'ər-əl, -năch'rəl) pronunciation
adj.

1. Out of or being beyond the normal course of nature; differing from the natural.
2. Surpassing the normal or usual; extraordinary: "Below his preternatural affability there is some acid and steel" (George F. Will).
3. Transcending the natural or material order; supernatural.

[Medieval Latin praeternātūrālis, from Latin praeter nātūrām, beyond nature : praeter, beyond; see preterit + nātūra, nature; see nature.]

(Lots more information if you go to the links)
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 08:00 pm
Well, Prospero, I see you're not just a tempest in a teapot.
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Prospero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 08:05 pm
Oh my - such a compliment! Thank you Ms Letty.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Mar, 2005 08:09 pm
You sound so familiar, aside from the fact that you are obviously a student of Shakespeare and the OED.

Equus, you know longer have to look elsewhere. <smile>
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