• synonyms


noun, plural en·tel·e·chies.
  1. a realization or actuality as opposed to a potentiality.
  2. (in vitalist philosophy) a vital agent or force directing growth and life.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for entelechy

Historical Examples

  • The soul, Aristotle defines as the first entelechy of the body.

    A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy

    Isaac Husik

  • The soul actualises the body, and becomes, as he said, its entelechy.

  • Now let us examine the opinion of those who call the soul an entelechy.

  • That is why, if we do grant the existence of an entelechy, it must be inseparable from the body.

  • In every other monad, the entelechy, or energy, is but one factor.

British Dictionary definitions for entelechy


noun plural -chies metaphysics
  1. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) actuality as opposed to potentiality
  2. (in the system of Leibnitz) the soul or principle of perfection of an object or person; a monad or basic constituent
  3. something that contains or realizes a final cause, esp the vital force thought to direct the life of an organism
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Word Origin

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper