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

Synonyms & Antonyms for utility

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 An outage is affecting hundreds of North Little Rock Electric Department customers on Saturday, according to the utility. Remington Miller, Arkansas Online, 23 July 2022 You’ll be asked to provide the account number on your city utility bill. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 July 2022 The boyfriend-girlfriend stay-over is one scenario where utility bill changes are more commonly up for discussion. Becky Burgum, refinery29.com, 14 July 2022 One, a payment for a ComEd utility bill of less than $50, was swiped, altered and cashed for $8,000. Mike Nolan, Chicago Tribune, 13 July 2022 Southeastern Wisconsin is experiencing the worst outages Tuesday, according to the utility. Corrinne Hess, Journal Sentinel, 14 June 2022 Customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers can water on Mondays and Fridays before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m., according to the utility. Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2022 They will be assigned to a local utility as a default. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 5 Apr. 2022 Like a growing number of water agencies in California, the city’s water department has been losing millions of dollars as households and businesses, doing their part in a third dry year, conserve more and fork over less money to the utility. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Vistra, the largest independent, non-utility company, announced closures by 2027 of all seven of its coal-burning plants in the mid-western states. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Now here’s something handy—a multi-utility install program. PCMAG, 24 Mar. 2022 Vistra, the largest independent, non-utility company, announced closures by 2027 of all seven of its coal-burning plants in the mid-western states. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Vistra, the largest independent, non-utility company, announced closures by 2027 of all seven of its coal-burning plants in the mid-western states. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2021 His super-utility role allowed Roberts to deploy unique lineups. Jaylon Thompson, USA TODAY, 25 Oct. 2021 But the Clean Electricity Performance Program does not cover another category of power company, called non-utility generators. Felix Mormann, The Conversation, 30 Sep. 2021 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 See More

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.

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

Learn More About utility

Time Traveler for utility

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near utility



utility knife

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for utility

Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Utility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utility. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for utility


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

More from Merriam-Webster on utility

Nglish: Translation of utility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of utility for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about utility


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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