Definition of telic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtɛlɪk/


1(Of an action or attitude) directed or tending to a definite end.
Example sentences
  • Directed or telic group behaviour doesn't allow the full spectrum of social language because it's constrained.
  • And that is true of both its telic and deontic forms.
  • In the book, he divides general orientations into telic (arousal reducing) and paratelic (arousal seeking).
1.1 Linguistics (Of a verb, conjunction, or clause) expressing purpose.
Example sentences
  • We show that fast can intervene between VOICE and VP, but that it does not have access to the result state of telic verbs.
  • A "telic" clause must proceed to its conclusion in order to be true; an "atelic" clause may be interrupted and yet still be true.
  • A telic clause has an ACHIEVEMENT or ACCOMPLISHMENT verb not in the progressive, not in the simple present (which would be habitual), and with no modal.



Example sentences
  • We show that this latter notion is strictly weaker than the traditional notion of telicity, thus demonstrating that telicity is not the sole property of event descriptions relevant to the semantics of grammatical aspect.
  • It is also useful in capturing the relationships between telicity and path structures of prepositions.
  • Quantificational approaches see telicity as a property of the predicate of an eventuality, usually described as boundedness, lack of the subinterval property, or a specified quantity.


Mid 19th century: from Greek telikos 'final', from telos 'end'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: telic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.