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util·​i·​tar·​i·​an (ˌ)yü-ˌti-lə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce utilitarian (audio)
: an advocate or adherent of utilitarianism


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

Examples of utilitarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
That's the whole beauty of the utilitarian meets beautiful design. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Mar. 2023 For fall, the talented Japanese designer went full-on utilitarian for a dark and aggressive display that used toggles, armor-like padded coats, ninja mouth coverings and black head gear that evoked the garb of combative sports such as fencing. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 4 Mar. 2023 Is Thanos a ruthless villain or a consistent utilitarian—or are those the same thing? Adam Kirsch, WSJ, 22 July 2022 Clearly, for a utilitarian like me, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. New York Times, 24 Dec. 2020 Then there are utilitarians — the greatest good, for the greatest number overall. Jim Beckerman, USA TODAY, 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, 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, 1 May 2017
Endy can imagine utilitarian uses, like as replacements for harsh artificial lighting. WIRED, 19 Sep. 2023 There is a utilitarian aspect to Wade’s perspective that is augmented by her precise draping, though her workwear is as versatile as the woman who will don it in the streets this coming spring. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 19 Sep. 2023 Type Rain barrels come in a wide array of styles, from utilitarian to elegant. Andrea Wurzburger, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Sep. 2023 For a utilitarian backpack that’s also sleek enough to use off the trail, consider the Peak Design Travel Backpack. Taylor Fox, Travel + Leisure, 15 Sep. 2023 Charging Cord An item as utilitarian as a charging cord may as well look great while getting the job done. Brigitt Earley, Glamour, 14 Sep. 2023 Enthusiasts will covet its typing feel, but even the most utilitarian typist will appreciate its strong wireless feature-set. Chris Coke, Popular Mechanics, 8 Sep. 2023 The stadiums aren’t hallowed grounds but utilitarian concrete boxes. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2023 For boys, who are also spending more on beauty, the top skin care brands are the more utilitarian CeraVe and Neutrogena. Liz Krieger, ELLE, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1780, in the meaning defined above


1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of utilitarian was circa 1780

Dictionary Entries Near utilitarian

Cite this Entry

“Utilitarian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utilitarian. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to utility
: aiming at usefulness rather than beauty
utilitarian furniture
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