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WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
tel•e•ol•o•gy  (tel′ē olə jē, tē′lē-), 
n. [Philos.]
  1. Philosophythe doctrine that final causes exist.
  2. Philosophythe study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature.
  3. Philosophysuch design or purpose.
  4. Philosophythe belief that purpose and design are a part of or are apparent in nature.
  5. Philosophy(in vitalist philosophy) the doctrine that phenomena are guided not only by mechanical forces but that they also move toward certain goals of self-realization.
Etymology:1730–40; Neo-Latin teleologia. See teleo-, -logy
tel•e•o•log•i•cal  (tel′ē ə loji kəl, tē′lē-), 
tel′e•o•logic, adj. 
tel′e•o•logi•cal•ly, adv. 
tel′e•olo•gism, n. 
tel′e•olo•gist, n. 

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

teleology /ˌtɛlɪˈɒlədʒɪ ˌtiːlɪ-/ n
  1. the doctrine that there is evidence of purpose or design in the universe, and esp that this provides proof of the existence of a Designer
  2. the belief that certain phenomena are best explained in terms of purpose rather than cause
  3. the belief that natural phenomena have a predetermined purpose and are not determined by mechanical laws
Etymology: 18th Century: from New Latin teleologia, from Greek telos end + -logy

teleological /ˌtɛlɪəˈlɒdʒɪkəl ˌtiːlɪ-/ adj ˌteleˈologist n

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