[tel-ee-uh-loj-i-kuh l, tee-lee-]
Sometimes tel·e·o·log·ic.

Origin of teleological

Related formstel·e·o·log·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·tel·e·o·log·i·cal, adjectivenon·tel·e·o·log·i·cal·ly, adverb


[tel-ee-ol-uh-jee, tee-lee-]
noun Philosophy.
  1. the doctrine that final causes exist.
  2. the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature.
  3. such design or purpose.
  4. the belief that purpose and design are a part of or are apparent in nature.
  5. (in vitalist philosophy) the doctrine that phenomena are guided not only by mechanical forces but that they also move toward certain goals of self-realization.

Origin of teleology

From the New Latin word teleologia, dating back to 1730–40. See teleo-, -logy
Related formstel·e·o·log·i·cal [tel-ee-uh-loj-i-kuh l, tee-lee-] /ˌtɛl i əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl, ˌti li-/, tel·e·o·log·ic, adjectivetel·e·ol·o·gism, nountel·e·ol·o·gist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for teleologic

Historical Examples of teleologic

  • It appears to me just as teleologic and divinatory as those I have previously named.

  • Moreover, they are dynamic with the same reality and teleologic for the same end.

    The Will to Doubt

    Alfred H. Lloyd

  • Mr. Buckle might probably inquire whether we would eliminate wholly from history all philosophic aim, all teleologic purpose.

    Nineteenth Century Questions

    James Freeman Clarke

  • In words used before, and applied alike to the spiritual and the material, it is at once dynamic and teleologic.

    The Will to Doubt

    Alfred H. Lloyd

British Dictionary definitions for teleologic


  1. philosophy
    1. the doctrine that there is evidence of purpose or design in the universe, and esp that this provides proof of the existence of a Designer
    2. the belief that certain phenomena are best explained in terms of purpose rather than cause
    3. the systematic study of such phenomenaSee also final cause
  2. biology the belief that natural phenomena have a predetermined purpose and are not determined by mechanical laws
Derived Formsteleological (ˌtɛlɪəˈlɒdʒɪkəl, ˌtiːlɪ-) or teleologic, adjectiveteleologically, adverbteleologism, nounteleologist, noun

Word Origin for teleology

C18: from New Latin teleologia, from Greek telos end + -logy
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 teleologic



"study of final causes," 1740, from Modern Latin teleologia, coined 1728 by German philosopher Baron Christian von Wolff (1679-1754) from Greek teleos "entire, perfect, complete," properly genitive of telos "end, goal, result" (see tele-), + -logia (see -logy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper