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[tel-ik, tee-lik]
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  1. Grammar. expressing end or purpose: a telic conjunction.
  2. tending to a definite end.

Origin of telic

First recorded in 1840–50, telic is from the Greek word telikós pertaining to an end or cause. See tel-2, -ic
Related formstel·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·tel·ic, adjectiveun·tel·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for telic

Historical Examples

  • Telic character or purposiveness and fixity are like oil and water.

    The Will to Doubt

    Alfred H. Lloyd

  • Hence the supernatural and telic forces, to which the scientist had had recourse, have been rendered superfluous.

  • Purposive progress rather than unconscious, telic rather than genetic, is the order of the evolution of society.


    Henry Kalloch Rowe

  • Certain families may definitely determine to modify their habits, and within a few years accomplish a telic change.


    Henry Kalloch Rowe

  • He has learned the futility of telic endeavor, and knows the delight of drifting along with the whimsicalities of Chance.

    The Road</p>

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for telic


  1. directed or moving towards some goal; purposeful
  2. (of a clause or phrase) expressing purpose

Word Origin

C19: from Greek telikos final, from telos end
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for telic


1846, from Greek telikos "final," from telos (see tele-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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