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

Definition of utile

: useful

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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."

Examples of utile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Why, then, is Cuomo so stuck on it, so willing to roll over all the opposition rather than get behind a significantly more utile plan? Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, 20 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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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utile dulci

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Utile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utile. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on utile

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about utile


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