[tel-ik, tee-lik]


Grammar. expressing end or purpose: a telic conjunction.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for telic

Historical Examples of telic

  • 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

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for telic



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

Word Origin for telic

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