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See also: telić



From the Ancient Greek τελῐκός (telikós, final), from τέλος (télos, end).



telic (comparative more telic, superlative most telic)

  1. Tending or directed towards a goal or specific end.
    • 1993, Brent D. Slife, Time and Psychological Explanation[1], page 226:
      Several theorists of the previous chapters are supportive of this more telic view of human nature.
    • 2001, Michael Argyle, The Psychology of Happiness, 2nd Edition, page 129,
      They were asked to rate the 36 activities for how purposeful they were. [] Comparing the 10 most telic and the 10 most paratelic we found that the paratelic leisure activities were thought to involve less skill or challenge; they were also judged to satisfy social needs more, and to be more enjoyable.
    • 2002, John Kerr, Counselling Athletes: Applying Reversal Theory[2], page 62:
      I have certainly become more telic as I strive to achieve my goals set, but I am not really enjoying any of it.
  2. (grammar) That expresses an end or purpose.
    • 1995, Michela Cennamo, Patterns of 'Active' Syntax in Late Latin Pleonastic Reflexives, John Charles Smith, Delia Bentley (editors), Historical Linguistics 1995: Selected Papers from the 12th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Volume 1: General Issues and Non-Germanic Languages, page 39,
      In this framework, verbs denoting directed change of location, such as Italian andare 'go', instantiate Core Unaccusativity, in that they have a Theme subject and are the most telic, concrete, dynamic.
    • 2000, Niko Besnier, Tuvaluan: A Polynesian Language of the Central Pacific, 2002, page 495,
      Similarly, verb forms that can govern either transitive or middle-case marking (cf. are more telic in their transitive manifestations.
    • 2015, Pierre-Don Giancarli, Auxiliary selection with intransitive and reflexive verbs: the limits of gradience and scalarity, followed by a proposal, Rolf Kailuweit, Malte Rosemeyer (editors), Auxiliary Selection Revisited: Gradience and Gradualness, page 82,
      Moreover, let us remember that some verbs can be telic and agentive at the same time: if one looks at the ASH category n°1 (change of location), i.e. the verbs considered the most telic, like FF arriver (arrive), partir (leave), venir (come), revenir (come back) (Sorace 2000:256), old Spanish huir (run away) and escapar (escape) (Legendre 2007), do they not bear an agentive component?
  3. (linguistics) That expresses the perfective aspect.


  • (directed towards a specific end): paratelic
  • (grammar: expressing an end or purpose): atelic

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