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The words "wonder" (as in "wonder of the world") and "miracle" translate to the same german word ("Wunder"). I wonder (pun not intended) if they are interchangeable in English too or, if not, when to use which.

  • You've pointed out yourself an example where they can't be interchanged... (one would never say "I miracle if they are interchangeable". I'm not sure what you're asking. – Catija May 22 '15 at 20:06
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    @Catija "wonder" has two meanings in English. I'm not talking about the verb "to wonder" but the noun as I tried to make clear with the "wonder of the world" example. – André Stannek May 22 '15 at 20:09
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Generally, I'd say no.

Let's look at some examples from the dictionary:

wonder noun [C/U] (SURPRISE)

  • a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings:
    • [U] People simply stared at her in wonder.
    • [C] She’s a wonder!
    • [U] If you didn’t study, no wonder you failed the test.
    • [C] Among the wonders of medicine is anesthetic.

Of the four example sentences here, I'd argue that you could only potentially replace wonder with miracle in the second and fourth examples because they are count nouns.

She's a miracle!

This could be problematic because wonder in this case means more like "amazing", where as miracle could mean more like "the fact that she exists is a miracle".

Among the miracles of medicine is anesthetic.

The subject matter of this option could be problematic, as miracle has a tinge of divine intervention, which could be argued to disagree with the scientific nature of medicine.

The first, and primary, definition of miracle involves the mystical nature of god.

miracle noun [C] us

  • an unusual and mysterious event that is thought to have been caused by God
  • A miracle is also any surprising and unexpected event:
    • It’s a miracle (that) he wasn’t killed in that car crash.

In this example, you could certainly replace miracle with wonder.

  • You really should wait to accept an answer for a few hours at the least! I stand by my answer but that doesn't mean everyone else agrees! – Catija May 22 '15 at 20:25
  • Alright, you have a point. Your answer just matches with what I would have guessed and it's really comprehensive. I'll take you advice and accept it later on if nothing else comes up. – André Stannek May 22 '15 at 20:27
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  • "Miracle" means an act of god. The quintessential miracle, is when god parted the red sea in the Old Testimant. You will also often hear the word "Miracle" used to refer to things that resemble acts of god, even if the speaker knows that they're not

  • When used as a noun, "Wonder" is an object or event that causes surprise, admiration, or extreme curiosity. It's different from "Miracle" in that it doesn't necessarily to divinity.

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