teleology

noun
tel·​e·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌte-lē-ˈä-lə-jē, ˌtē-\

Definition of teleology 

1a : the study of evidences of design in nature

b : a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature

c : a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes

2 : the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose

3 : the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena

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Other Words from teleology

teleologist \ ˌte-​lē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist , ˌtē-​ \ noun

Examples of teleology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Similarly, the transformative forward-thrust of time in Boyne’s narrative, which orders the novel’s very structure — each chapter break accounts for seven years in Cyril’s life — suggests a kind of progressive teleology. Manuel Betancourt, Longreads, "Bending the Straight Line of Queer History," 29 Mar. 2018 The question sums up why the hopeful teleology should nag at us: there are still people who’ve been left ashore. Manuel Betancourt, Longreads, "Bending the Straight Line of Queer History," 29 Mar. 2018 Which is what, some believe, happened to Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian who tried (and largely succeeded) to fit the entire world into a synthesis of Christian revelation and Aristotelian teleology. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Putin’s First Year in the White House," 22 Dec. 2017 What had happened was one story, the story of communism, the teleology of communism had turned out not to be true. Isaac Chotiner, Slate Magazine, "What the 20th Century Tells Us About Trump," 7 Mar. 2017 Homer’s heroes lack the sense of national destiny, of teleology, that fills Virgil’s poem. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "Of Arms and the Man," 22 Sep. 2017 Committed to a teleology of progress, albeit open to the reality of historical irony, this liberalism lacks a visceral sense of the tragic. Jamelle Bouie, Slate Magazine, "What’s missing from Jonathan Chait’s new book on Obama’s legacy is what’s missing from Obama’s worldview: a sense of tragedy.," 7 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teleology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of teleology

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for teleology

New Latin teleologia, from Greek tele-, telos end, purpose + -logia -logy — more at wheel

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Time Traveler for teleology

The first known use of teleology was in 1742

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More Definitions for teleology

teleology

noun
te·​le·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌtel-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē, ˌtēl- \
plural teleologies

Medical Definition of teleology 

1a : the study of evidences of design in nature

b : a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature

c : a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes

2 : the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose

3 : the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena

More from Merriam-Webster on teleology

Britannica English: Translation of teleology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about teleology

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