[ en-tel-uh-kee ]
/ ɛnˈtɛl ə ki /

noun, plural en·tel·e·chies.

a realization or actuality as opposed to a potentiality.
(in vitalist philosophy) a vital agent or force directing growth and life.

Nearby words

  1. entanglement,
  2. entangling alliances with none,
  3. entasia,
  4. entasis,
  5. entebbe,
  6. entellus,
  7. entente,
  8. entente cordiale,
  9. enter,
  10. enter into

Origin of entelechy

1595–1605; < Late Latin entelechīa < Greek entelécheia, equivalent to en- en-2 + tél(os) goal + éch(ein) to have + -eia -y3

Related formsen·te·lech·i·al [en-tuh-lek-ee-uh l] /ˌɛn təˈlɛk i əl/, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for entelechy

British Dictionary definitions for entelechy


/ (ɛnˈtɛlɪkɪ) /

noun plural -chies metaphysics

(in the philosophy of Aristotle) actuality as opposed to potentiality
(in the system of Leibnitz) the soul or principle of perfection of an object or person; a monad or basic constituent
something that contains or realizes a final cause, esp the vital force thought to direct the life of an organism

Word Origin for entelechy

C17: from Late Latin entelechia, from Greek entelekheia, from en- ² + telos goal, completion + ekhein to have

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 entelechy



c.1600, from Greek entelekheia, from en "in" (see en- (2)) + telei, dative of telos "perfection" (see tele-) + ekhein "to have" (see scheme (n.)). In Aristotle, "the condition in which a potentiality has become an actuality."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper