uten·​sil yu̇-ˈten(t)-səl How to pronounce utensil (audio)
: an implement, instrument, or vessel used in a household and especially a kitchen
: a useful tool or implement
Choose the Right Synonym for utensil

implement, tool, instrument, appliance, utensil mean a relatively simple device for performing work.

implement may apply to anything necessary to perform a task.

crude stone implements
farm implements

tool suggests an implement adapted to facilitate a definite kind or stage of work and suggests the need of skill more strongly than implement.

a carpenter's tools

instrument suggests a device capable of delicate or precise work.

the dentist's instruments

appliance refers to a tool or instrument utilizing a power source and suggests portability or temporary attachment.

household appliances

utensil applies to a device used in domestic work or some routine unskilled activity.

kitchen utensils

Examples of utensil in a Sentence

participants in the class must supply their own writing utensils
Recent Examples on the Web Kitchen appliances are marvelous creations that do so much to make our lives better, from quickly cooking dinner to deftly shining up plates and utensils afterward. Susan Hall Mahon, Southern Living, 26 Oct. 2023 Most modern dishwashers, however, have added a convenient third upper rack for cutlery and utensils. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Oct. 2023 This handheld utensil can include a flat extruder-style surface with large holes, or a more rustic metal zig-zag. Carly Westerfield, Bon Appétit, 13 Nov. 2023 Vanessa has brought the ingredients; John supplies the utensils. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2023 This useful kitchen utensil also makes a great stocking stuffer. Bellamy Richardson, wsj.com, 20 Sep. 2023 While this is a great gift in itself, consider adding a special pen, pencil, or another writing utensil to go along with it. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 31 Oct. 2023 This includes the utensils, pizza pan, and aprons as well as the pizza dough mix, pepperonis, seasoning, and pizza sauce. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 29 Oct. 2023 If a rogue piece of gum ends up stuck on the interior of your machine, try freezing it off with a piece of ice or gently chipping it off the drum with something plastic (like the edge of a credit card or a plastic utensil). Ann Wilson, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, vessels for domestic use, from Middle French utensile, from Latin utensilia, from neuter plural of utensilis useful, from uti to use

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of utensil was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near utensil

Cite this Entry

“Utensil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utensil. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


uten·​sil yu̇-ˈten(t)-səl How to pronounce utensil (audio)
: a device or container used in a household and especially a kitchen
: an article serving a useful purpose
writing utensils

More from Merriam-Webster on utensil

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!