early 15c. "of or given by God," from Medieval Latin supernaturalis "above or beyond nature, divine," from Latin super "above" (see super-) + natura "nature" (see nature (n.)). Originally with more of a religious sense, "of or given by God, divine; heavenly;" association with ghosts, etc., has predominated since 19c. Related: Supernaturalism.
That is supernatural, whatever 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. [Horace Bushnell, "Nature and the Supernatural," 1858]
"beyond or different from what is natural," 1570s, from Medieval Latin preternaturalis (mid-13c.), from Latin phrase praeter naturam (praeterque fatum) "beyond nature (and beyond fate)," from praeter "beyond, over, more than in quantity or degree" (see preter-) + accusative of natura "nature" (see natural (adj.)).
Used at least since 1770s in the sense of supernatural, but technically and properly distinct from that word. "Preternatural is used especially to note that which might have been a work of nature, but is not" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Preternaturally; preternaturalness; preternaturalism.
"one who professes or practices supernatural divination," early 14c., from Old French devineor, from Late Latin divinator, from Latin divinare (see divine (v.)).