te·​los | \ ˈte-ˌläs How to pronounce telos (audio) , ˈtē- How to pronounce telos (audio) \

Definition of telos

: an ultimate end

Examples of telos in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His telos—his endgame—is the destabilization, the overcoming, of the whole Western order., "The Secret Source of Putin’s Evil," 10 Jan. 2017

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

First Known Use of telos

1904, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for telos

Greek; probably akin to Greek tellein to accomplish, tlēnai to bear — more at tolerate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about telos

Time Traveler for telos

Time Traveler

The first known use of telos was in 1904

See more words from the same year

Statistics for telos

Cite this Entry

“Telos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Comments on telos

What made you want to look up telos? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!