Definition of entelechy in English:


Syllabification: en·tel·e·chy
Pronunciation: /enˈteləkē

noun (plural entelechies)

  • 1The realization of potential.
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    • Leaving much of this material unattended to, I shall restrict myself to the themes that have occupied my attention in the previous sections, namely, entelechy, the transcendentals, especially beauty, and desire.
  • 1.1The supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.
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    • His working definition is that psych is the ‘first entelechy of a natural organic body’.
    • The entelechy of a caterpillar is to grow into a butterfly.
    • The true freedom possible in theology requires a significant degree of prior bondage; the substance of this discipline does not materialize simply out of our own entelechy.
  • 1.2The soul.
    More example sentences
    • This is in keeping with the British emergentists' view of emergence as midway between ‘mechanistic’ reductionism and vitalism of a sort which posited entelechies, substances embodying life-governing principles.
    • Each twin formed a unitary entelechy, a single living organism made of psyche and soma, still rotating in opposite directions to each other.


late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- 'within' + telos 'end, perfection' + ekhein 'be in a certain state'.

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