MEANS TO AN END
In philosophy, the concept of telos is used to refer to the inherent purpose of someone or something (the explanation of this is called teleology, and the realization of it is entelechy). In Ancient Greek, that word meant "end" or "result", and it actually had quite a large influence on English. In biology, the "end phase" of mitosis is telophase and the "end part" of a chromosome is a telomere, and, in language, a homoioteleuton is a repetition of the end sounds of words. Then you got the noun talisman, which was borrowed into English in the 1630s from French and Arabic words ultimately coming from Byzantine Greek telesma, meaning "religious rite" or, more literally, "something done to completion". Finally, telos comes a suffixed form of the Proto-Indo-European kwel, "to revolve".
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.