[ en-tel-uh-kee ]

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.

Origin of entelechy

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

Other words from entelechy

  • en·te·lech·i·al [en-tuh-lek-ee-uhl], /ˌɛn təˈlɛk i əl/, adjective

Words Nearby entelechy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use entelechy in a sentence

  • Shall we say with Aristotle, that the soul is the entelechy or form of an organized living body?

    Phaedo | Plato
  • In particular, he picked out the Aristotelian "entelechy" to stop a gap in the philosophy of his own age.'

    Theodicy | G. W. Leibniz
  • entelechy was a useful name for X, the more so as it had the authority of Aristotle, the master of scholasticism.

    Theodicy | G. W. Leibniz
  • We could regard what is called catalysis solely as an agent in the service of entelechy.

  • Let us again apply the name entelechy to that which lies at the very beginning of all individual morphogenesis.

British Dictionary definitions for entelechy


/ (ɛnˈtɛlɪkɪ) /

nounplural -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

  1. something that contains or realizes a final cause, esp the vital force thought to direct the life of an organism

Origin of 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