Add the Greek prefix "meta-" (beyond) to the base "physical" (nature), and you get metaphysical — a near synonym to the Latin-based word "supernatural." Both concern phenomena that are outside everyday experience or knowledge.

The adjective metaphysical entered the English language through Aristotle, whose "Metaphysics" is a collection of treatises that follows his work, "Physics." "Physics" concerned natural philosophy, what we call science today, while "Metaphysics" dealt with more abstract questions about the reality beyond what we perceive with our senses. Look at a physical object, say an apple. At what exact point did that apple come into existence? If you eat it, does it cease to exist, or does it still exist but in a changed way? These are metaphysical questions.

Definitions of metaphysical

adj pertaining to or of the nature of metaphysics

metaphysical philosophy”

adj highly abstract and overly theoretical

metaphysical reasoning”
theoretic, theoretical
concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations

adj without material form or substance

metaphysical forces”
not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material

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