utilitarianism

play
noun util·i·tar·i·an·ism \(ˌ)yü-ˌti-lə-ˈter-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of utilitarianism

  1. 1 :  a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically :  a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number

  2. 2 :  utilitarian character, spirit, or quality

Recent Examples of utilitarianism from the Web

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

First Known Use of utilitarianism

1827


UTILITARIANISM Defined for English Language Learners

utilitarianism

play
noun

Definition of utilitarianism for English Language Learners

  • philosophy : the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people


Learn More about utilitarianism


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to be a fixed element or attribute

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

July 2017 Words of the Day Quiz

  • alt-597a99e699d07
  • Which is a synonym of gauche?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!