Definition of utile
utile was our Word of the Day on 07/06/2013. Hear the podcast!
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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."
Origin and Etymology of utile
Middle French, from Latin utilis
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
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