te·​los ˈte-ˌläs How to pronounce telos (audio) ˈtē- How to pronounce telos (audio)
: an ultimate end

Examples of telos in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Assimilation rather than revolution is the telos toward which Secret City strives. Samuel Clowes Huneke, The New Republic, 8 June 2022 Setting and pursuing performance goals supplies the telos of the sport, but success and failure are fleeting moments — drops in the bucket of the overall experience. Matt Fitzgerald, Outside Online, 26 Apr. 2021 Techniques exist to be perfected; Curry has pushed the three toward its telos. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2021 His telos—his endgame—is the destabilization, the overcoming, of the whole Western order., 10 Jan. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'telos.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of telos was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near telos

Cite this Entry

“Telos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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