util·​i·​ty | \ yü-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce utility (audio) \
plural utilities

Definition of utility

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fitness for some purpose or worth to some end
2 : something useful or designed for use
b(1) : a service (such as light, power, or water) provided by a public utility
(2) : equipment or a piece of equipment to provide such service or a comparable service
4 : a program or routine designed to perform or facilitate especially routine operations (such as copying files or editing text) on a computer



Definition of utility (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : capable of serving as a substitute in various roles or positions a utility infielder
2a : kept to provide a useful product or service rather than for show or as a pet utility livestock a utility dog
b : being of a usable but inferior grade utility beef
3 : serving primarily for utility rather than beauty : utilitarian
4 : designed or adapted for general use a utility tool
5 : of or relating to a utility a utility company

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Synonyms & Antonyms for utility

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of utility in a Sentence

Noun a plan without much practical utility Notify the utility if there's an outage.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Eligible households may receive up to 15 months of assistance for rent and/or utility costs incurred between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021. Pine Bluff Commercial, Arkansas Online, 11 June 2021 A few years ago, Lakewood added solar arrays at city hall, the Serpentini Arena Winterhurst Ice Rink and a municipal utility garage. John Benson, cleveland, 11 June 2021 Some consumers lose enough money in just one day to cover a monthly utility bill. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 11 June 2021 The Biden plan envisions internet access as a utility with municipal and other public solutions. Bhaskar Chakravorti, Wired, 10 June 2021 The compact sport utility vehicle ended a long run at the top spot by the Honda Civic, underscoring a national trend in which consumers have increasingly gravitated from cars to roomier SUVs and pickup trucks. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 June 2021 Churchman lied to an FBI agent in 2019, saying that he had not been involved in communicating the project timeline with utility executives, authorities said. Meg Kinnard, Star Tribune, 10 June 2021 The state now allows pilot utility programs, but Ting said it’s not enough. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 June 2021 This is a partnership forged from utility and, as far as its members are concerned, necessity. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 9 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective With Adames taking over at short, Urias will move into a super-utility role for the remainder of the season and get most of his starts in a platoon with Travis Shaw at third base but the team still has high hopes for Urias, 23, in the future. Andrew Wagner, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Boston added a pair of super-utility players in Kiké Hernandez and former Twin Marwin Gonzalez in the offseason. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, 11 Apr. 2021 With Chad Pinder again in a super-utility role, the A’s will look for spots to get his bat into the lineup. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2021 Chad Pinder again looks slated for a super-utility role, and Tony Kemp can also play infield and outfield spots. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Mar. 2021 Gonzalez's super-utility role goes to Luis Arraez, a subpar fielder whose deficiencies can perhaps be mitigated more easily by spreading him around to different positions while keeping his batting champion capabilities in the lineup. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, 27 Jan. 2021 Diverse experience makes a person a multi-utility player (MUP) in an organization. Kumar Abhishek, Forbes, 12 Mar. 2021 Jeff McNeil made three errors at third base in what ended up being a tough day for the Mets’ super-utility defender. Deesha Thosar, courant.com, 7 Mar. 2021 Marwin Gonzalez, who the Tigers have shown interest in, is a super-utility player with experience at first base and second base. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 26 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utility.' 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 utility


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for utility


Middle English utilite, from Anglo-French utilité, from Latin utilitat, utilitas, from utilis useful, from uti to use

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Learn More about utility

Time Traveler for utility

Time Traveler

The first known use of utility was in the 14th century

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Statistics for utility

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Utility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utility. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for utility



English Language Learners Definition of utility

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : the quality or state of being useful
: a service (such as a supply of electricity or water) that is provided to the public
: a company that provides electricity, water, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of utility (Entry 2 of 2)

: designed for general use
sports : able to be used in several different positions or roles
: made to be useful rather than decorative


util·​i·​ty | \ yu̇-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce utility (audio) \
plural utilities

Kids Definition of utility

1 : the quality or state of being useful
2 : a business that supplies a public service (as electricity or gas) under special regulation by the government


plural utilities

Legal Definition of utility

1 : fitness for some purpose or worth to some end
b : a service or commodity provided by a public utility paid for rent and utilities also : equipment or material used in providing such a service or commodity an easement limited to purposes of travel which does not include the right to install utilities Ware v. Public Serv. Co., 412 A.2d 84 (1980)
3 plural : stocks or bonds of utility companies utilities performed poorly


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