I'm trying to find an adjective to describe something - a thing, concept or idea - that transcends the empiric "mortal" world and exists in the afterlife. Specifically, the word should describe the object as not just existing simultaneously in both worlds, but also bridging the gap between them.

To give an example of such an object, love could be considered this, since sometimes even after a loved one dies the love between the two people still exists.

Any ideas? I'm stumped. I feel like there's a really good, simple word to convey this feeling that I'm just overlooking because it's 2:30 A.M. right now and I literally can't think.

  • Transcendental? Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 10:21
  • I guess you're not thinking of 'ectoplasm'. 'Ectoplasm' = "The substance believed to be the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost." (Am. Herit.) 'Ectoplasm' isn't an adjective, but then neither is "love". In the case of 'ectoplasm', you could use 'ectoplasmic', the adjective, if an adjective is really what you're after.
    – JEL
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:43
  • Metaphysical ? (relating to a concept beyond what is perceptible to the senses, incorporeal).
    – Graffito
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:52
  • Was going to suggest preternatural but the dictionary says that this particular meaning is dated. Wiktionary: "In Catholic theology, preternatural refers to properties of creatures like angels, while supernatural refers to properties of God alone."
    – lauir
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 15:40

5 Answers 5


In some Western monotheistic apologetics, transcendent describes the nature of something (usually the divine) that exists beyond the physical world (usually the spiritual). The immanent describes how something transcendent manifests itself in the physical world.

  • An excellent idea and probably the best one possible. But do not be deceived by trans... as meaning something which crosses or bestrides. Transcendent is a word whose meaning rather challenges our comprehension. I believe the philosopher Kant makes use of it, and Kant himself takes a bit of understanding. The OED has a very lengthy entry but its headline meaning is given as a. Surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits; pre-eminent; superior or supreme; extraordinary. Also, loosely, Eminently great or good; cf. ‘excellent’.
    – WS2
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 10:14
  • I would like to point out using transcendental might help divorce what you're talking about from the OED definition you mentioned.
    – Daron
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 16:23


  • without beginning or end; lasting for ever: eternal life. b. (as noun): the eternal.
  • (Theology) (often capital) denoting or relating to that which is without beginning and end, regarded as an attribute of God

I often encontered " numinous " in the writings of Jung but not only, Kant also speaks about this elusive concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numinous

  • Wonder how that's related to the OP's context.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 14:00

Many writers use the word "liminal" to mean something which transcends the gap between the sacred and profane worlds, but it tends to mean something which exists in the near vicinity of the threshold, rather than something which covers both worlds.


Perhaps the only way I would approach your query would be to use "intrinsic" to describe the context of your idea. For example, "Love is a force intrinsic to the universe, being present even in the absence of a sentience or conscious able to identify it."

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