\ ˈyü-tᵊl How to pronounce utile (audio) , ˈyü-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce utile (audio) \

Definition of utile

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For over a hundred years before "useful" entered our language, "utile" served us well on its own. We borrowed "utile" from Middle French in the 15th century. The French derived it from Latin utilis, meaning "useful," which in turn comes from uti, meaning "to use." "Uti" (the past participle of which is "usus") is also the source of our "use" and "useful." We've been using "use" since at least the 13th century, but we didn't acquire "useful" until the late 16th century, when William Shakespeare inserted it into King John. Needless to say, we've come to prefer "useful" over "utile" since then, though "utile" functions as a very usable synonym. Other handy terms derived from "uti" include "utilize," "usury," "abuse" and "utensil."

First Known Use of utile

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for utile

Middle French, from Latin utilis

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The first known use of utile was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Utile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utile. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on utile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with utile

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about utile

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