util·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ (ˌ)yü-ˌti-lə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce utilitarian (audio) \

Definition of utilitarian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an advocate or adherent of utilitarianism



Definition of utilitarian (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to or advocating utilitarianism
2 : marked by utilitarian views or practices
3a : of, relating to, or aiming at utility
b : exhibiting or preferring mere utility spare utilitarian furnishings

Examples of utilitarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then there are utilitarians — the greatest good, for the greatest number overall. Jim Beckerman, USA TODAY, "Are ethics for suckers? The US has a complicated relationship with right and wrong in 2019," 26 Oct. 2019 Consequentialists—including utilitarians, the most famous kind—are concerned with the outcomes and consequences of actions first and foremost. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Enough With the Trolley Problem," 30 Mar. 2018 Besides, as long as these readers really are utilitarians and not Kantians, there’s nothing to stop them from quietly resubscribing in a month or two. Will Oremus, Slate Magazine, "New York Times," 1 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Urban Craftsman's Wood Creations Nicholas Hardrath creates one-of-a-kind furniture and utilitarian artwork using locally sourced wood. May Klisch, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Love of Wisconsin is on display in home decor items made by local artists," 7 Feb. 2020 Posters had been used to advertise stage shows for decades, but most were utilitarian conveyors of date, time, and place. Neil Genzlinger, BostonGlobe.com, "Wes Wilson, psychedelic poster pioneer, 82," 5 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, euthanasia and organ-harvesting have already been conjoined in the country — a utilitarian plum to society, celebrated and promoted in the media. Wesley J. Smith, National Review, "Pressuring a Hospice to Kill," 24 Jan. 2020 The one Goopy distraction about the series is the uniform look of the Goop staffers -- utilitarian jumpsuits, minimal makeup and layers of shiny gold jewelry. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "Watching 'The Goop Lab' could turn you into a member of the Goop troop," 23 Jan. 2020 The utilitarian basement contains a wine room in which the walls are covered with the ends of wine boxes. John Ellement, Boston.com Real Estate, "Home of the Week: For $4.3 million, an oceanside Gloucester mansion with modern flair," 22 Jan. 2020 Beyoncé's first shoe styles are the Super Sleek 72 (orange with a strap for clipping onto a gym bag), Ultraboost (maroon and utilitarian-designed) and Nite Jogger ('80s-inspired in two colors). Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Beyoncé Releases First Ivy Park Collection With Adidas," 17 Jan. 2020 The utilitarian breed was used for everything from serving as watchdogs, to gathering scattered stock, to rabbit hunting, to treeing various small game intended for the pot. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "Hunting With Dogs is the Best Way to Bag Late-Winter Squirrels," 15 Jan. 2020 In Phoenix, many of the 200 permanent art projects are integrated into utilitarian infrastructure. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Scottsdale's best public art: 'LOVE' and 11 more selfie-worthy sculptures and other works," 10 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of utilitarian


circa 1780, in the meaning defined above


1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for utilitarian

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The first known use of utilitarian was circa 1780

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Cite this Entry

“Utilitarian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utilitarian. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for utilitarian



English Language Learners Definition of utilitarian

: made to be useful rather than to be decorative or comfortable
philosophy : of or relating to utilitarianism

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