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illustration Entelechy



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Late Middle English, late 1500s


(Philosophy) The realization of potential.


The supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.

Examples of Entelechy in a sentence

"The instructor intended to guide all students to discover their own entelechy."

"The entelechy of a tadpole is to develop into a frog."

About Entelechy

This word developed trifold through Late Middle English, Latin, and, originally, Greek. The Greek word “entelekheia,” notably used by philosopher Aristotle, was the first iteration of entelechy, and came from a combination of the words “en” (within), “telos” (end, perfection), and “ekhein” (be in a certain state).

Did you Know?

Animals that go through metamorphosis undergo multiple stages of development in order to reach entelechy. Frogs, for example, hatch as tadpoles and use a long flagellate tail to move around. As they metamorphosize, however, tadpoles eventually develop legs and realize their full potential as an adult frog.

illustration Entelechy

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