utility

1 of 2

noun

util·​i·​ty yü-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce utility (audio)
plural utilities
1
: fitness for some purpose or worth to some end
2
: something useful or designed for use
3
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

utility

2 of 2

adjective

1
: capable of serving as a substitute in various roles or positions
a utility infielder
2
a
: 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

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
On Tuesday, some areas had utility and cellphone services still down. USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 By blending a kitchen into an extended living space, homeowners can expand their living area without clashing against the kitchen's utilities. Sharon Greenthal, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Feb. 2024 The portion of renters spending more than 30% on rent and utilities (total living expenses) grew from 45% to 48.3% between 2019 and 2022. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The annual cost of utilities is also relatively low at $3,858.26. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 22 Feb. 2024 Consumer technologies trend over time toward greater ease and utility—not necessarily toward greater safety and security. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 21 Feb. 2024 Federal and local taxes, plus the elevated cost of everyday necessities including housing, groceries, utilities, transportation and more can quickly erode the purchasing power of a six figure income, a new study from SmartAsset, a financial technology company, shows. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 20 Feb. 2024 Lastly, tax and utility concerns must be addressed promptly. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2024 Her keenness for utility goes back to her father, a contractor. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 15 Feb. 2024
Adjective
The super-utility role seems made for him. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 22 Mar. 2021 Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) is the largest tribal multi-utility provider in the U.S. Grace Baek, CBS News, 8 May 2020 Nortex operates what Tailwater characterized as the largest portfolio of non-utility gas storage facilities in North Texas. Dallas News, 8 Sep. 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 The Ravens could not turn to anyone else, because injuries wiped out their insurance tackle, James, and their super-utility lineman, Mekari, within the first nine quarters of the new season. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 26 Sep. 2022 Mekari is the rare super-utility lineman who can fill in ably at all five positions. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 31 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near utility

Cite this Entry

“Utility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utility. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

utility

1 of 2 noun
util·​i·​ty yü-ˈtil-ət-ē How to pronounce utility (audio)
plural utilities
1
: the quality or state of being useful : usefulness
2
: something useful or designed for use
3
b
: a public service (as power or water) provided by a public utility
4
: a program designed to perform or aid in especially routine actions (as copying files or editing text) on a computer

utility

2 of 2 adjective
1
: capable of serving as a substitute in various roles or positions
utility infielder
2
: being of a usable but poor quality
utility beef
3
: serving chiefly for usefulness rather than beauty : utilitarian
4
: designed for general use
utility bag

Legal Definition

utility

noun
util·​i·​ty
plural utilities
1
: fitness for some purpose or worth to some end
2
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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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