Definition of entelechy in English:


Line breaks: en|tel¦echy
Pronunciation: /ɛnˈtɛləki
, ɪn-/

noun (plural entelechies)

[mass noun] Philosophy
  • 1The realization of potential.
    More example sentences
    • 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: such self-organization required a special biological force—entelechy [count noun]: an entelechy generating a work of art from within
    More example sentences
    • 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.


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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