Definition of entelechy in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The realization of potential.

    • ‘Leaving much of this material unattended to, I shall restrict myself to the themes that have occupied my attention in the previous sections, namely, entelechy, the transcendentals, especially beauty, and desire.’
    1. 1.1The supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.
      ‘such self-organization required a special biological force—entelechy’
      [count noun] ‘an entelechy generating a work of art from within’
      • ‘Radionics is concerned with healing of the whole man, with the health pattern or entelechy of the individual.’
      • ‘His working definition is that psych is the ‘first entelechy of a natural organic body’.’
      • ‘It is Aristotle's idea of entelechy, applied not to biology but to our human community.’
      • ‘The entelechy of a caterpillar is to grow into a butterfly.’
      • ‘The true freedom possible in theology requires a significant degree of prior bondage; the substance of this discipline does not materialize simply out of our own entelechy.’
    2. 1.2[count noun]The soul.


Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- within + telos end, perfection + ekhein be in a certain state.