Supranatural vs Supernatural: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to the unexplainable, many terms are often used interchangeably. However, some terms have specific connotations that differentiate them from one another. For instance, the terms “supernatural” and “supranatural” are often used interchangeably, but they have vital differences. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the meaning of these terms and how they differ from each other.

Supranatural vs Supernatural

The term “supranatural” refers to a phenomenon that is above the natural or physical order and beyond the range of scientific explanation. On the other hand, “supernatural” refers to phenomena that are outside the natural order and that cannot be explained by science or logic.

While the terms “supernatural” and “supranatural” both relate to phenomena that cannot be explained by science, the former implies an entity that operates outside our understanding of the universe, while the latter suggests a phenomenon that operates above the known laws of nature. An example of supranatural phenomena is documented near-death experiences where individuals report seeing events beyond the physical body’s realm.

Supranatural Definition

To understand the concept of supranatural better, let’s take a closer look at the definition. The term supranatural (from the Latin supra, which means above) refers to events that operate beyond the natural order and beyond the range of scientific explanation.

Supranatural events are typically associated with exceptional human experiences and abilities. The supranatural concept includes events such as out-of-body experiences, clairvoyance, and telekinesis.

Unlike supernatural occurrences, supranatural phenomena are not considered divine as they occur within the realm of human experience by individuals with exceptional abilities. These abilities are likely to exist but do not have a plausible scientific explanation in the current understanding of the universe.

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Another term that is often used alongside “supranatural” and “supernatural” is “preternatural.” This term is not as well-known as the other two, but its definition is essential to understand the differences.

The term “preternatural” literally means “beyond the natural,” and it is generally used to describe something that is anomalous or strange but not outside the laws of nature. For example, a dog that can perform complex mathematical equations would be considered preternatural. It’s a strange and improbable occurrence, but it doesn’t directly defy the laws of physics.

Preternatural vs Supernatural

While both terms imply an occurrence beyond the natural order, the nature of the events is different. Preternatural events are a strange phenomenon within the existing order of the world, while supernatural events are beyond the existing order. The simplest way to differentiate between the two is to see if there is a logical explanation for the event within the natural order of things. If there is, the event is likely preternatural. If there is no explanation, the occurrence would be considered supernatural.


In conclusion, the terms “supranatural,” “supernatural,” and “preternatural” are often used interchangeably. However, each term implies something different. Supranatural and supernatural both imply something outside the natural order, but supranatural suggests that it operates within human experience, while supernatural does not. Preternatural describes strange events that are unlikely but still within the natural order. By understanding the difference between these terms, we can more accurately describe unusual events that occur outside the laws of science.