- Serving an ultimate purpose in its design. For example, "What is the true purpose of the nose?" That is a teleological question. For another example, to say that all evolutionary changes occur for a definite purpose is a teleological explanation of evolution. "Teleological" comes from ancient Greek roots but did not enter English until the 18th century. It is a compound of the Greek "tele-, telos," meaning "end or purpose" + the ending "logos" meaning "the science or study of" = the study of the ends or purposes.
* * *te·le·o·log·i·cal .tel-ē-ə-'läj-i-kəl, .tēl- also te·le·o·log·ic -'läj-ik adj exhibiting or relating to design or purpose esp. in naturete·le·o·log·i·cal·ly -i-k(ə-)lē adv
* * *te·leo·log·i·cal (te″le-ə-logґĭ-kəl) 1. pertaining to teleology. 2. serving an ultimate purpose in development.
Medical dictionary. 2011.