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

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

Give your parade look a utilitarian-meets-camp-counselor vibe with a trendy bucket hat and khaki shorts. Seventeen, "How to Prep For Your First Pride Parade," 14 June 2019 The Bay Area seems to be going the way of the gondola, not the utilitarian pedestrian bridge. Peter Hartlaub, SFChronicle.com, "A tribute to the Coliseum BART pedestrian walkway, accidental East Bay treasure," 12 June 2019 The crew is padding around in sneakers and utilitarian blah. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "The irresistible authenticity of Gayle King," 11 June 2019 Further honing in on the utilitarian trend, Kanye paired the jacket with black pants and worker boots. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Kanye West's Met Gala Jacket Cost Less Than $50," 7 May 2019 And if your personal phone philosophy tends to skew more utilitarian, the lower price tag and plastic body feels more capable to handle the scrapes and scratches of everyday use. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Google Finally Makes a Phone for the Rest of Us," 7 May 2019 Soon after the company launched a sport line, Linea Rossa, in 1997, the athletic influence made its way into the designer’s Spring 1999 women’s collection, which featured back- and fanny-packs as well as more utilitarian fabrics. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 From ultra-sturdy workwear to hard-wearing sneakers to hyper-purposeful accessories, the best dressed dudes across the globe are finding style in everyday utilitarian staples. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "The Best Work Pants to Wear Right Now," 11 May 2018 There's something utilitarian about it, like an army-navy store. Blake Brunson, House Beautiful, "Miles Redd on Decorating a Bold and Colorful Family Home," 10 Nov. 2014

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

The first known use of utilitarian was circa 1780

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with utilitarian

Spanish Central: Translation of utilitarian

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Britannica English: Translation of utilitarian for Arabic Speakers

Comments on utilitarian

What made you want to look up utilitarian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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