Beyond science: paranormal vs supernatural

Tutoring English, the meanings of words might be surprising. The tutor shares a recent discovery.

Paranormal: inexplicable by known science.

Supernatural: outside the laws of nature.

Are paranormal and supernatural synonyms? The answer depends on how you define science and nature. I’d argue that the laws of nature and the laws of science are inseparable, since science exists to describe nature.

If a law of nature is that animals try to survive, then suicide is supernatural. It may not be paranormal, however, since it’s possibly explicable by psychology.

If ghosts indeed do exist and appear, then they are paranormal. However, it may be a law of nature that entities return in spirit form, but merely a law that, as yet, is not widely known by humans in some socieities.


Gilmour, Laura (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glawgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.