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

account, avail, mileage, service, serviceability, serviceableness, use, usefulness

Antonyms: Noun

uselessness, worthlessness

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Examples of utility in a Sentence


a plan without much practical utility Notify the utility if there's an outage.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Red Sox: Both utility player Brock Holt (IL, scratched right eye) and 2B Dustin Pedroia (soreness left knee) continued their rehab assignments with Triple-A Pawtucket. Ken Powtak, The Seattle Times, "Astros start fast; beat Red Sox 7-3 for 10th straight win," 18 May 2019 Cool! Microsoft The second utility is a simple (yet much-needed) Windows key shortcut guide. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft revives PowerToys with open-source tools for Windows 10 power users," 8 May 2019 Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell has done it four times, allowing utility player Hernan Perez and catcher Erik Kratz to throw three innings in a game earlier this week. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Why More Position Players Are Pitching," 26 July 2018 Instead, the Marlins will employ a center field rotation with Cameron Maybin starting most of the games, and utility player Yadiel Rivera filling in at times. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson diagnosed with hip bone bruise," 13 July 2018 Although Tessitore did receive some time as a utility player, his work on the mound was strictly for the JV team. Bob Narang, Lake County News-Sun, "Totally Tessitore: Dylan Tessitore pitches gem as Mundelein marks dominant win over Waukegan in summer regional," 9 July 2018 Starks was the epitome of a utility player for the Chargers. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Daily Pilot Softball Dream Team: Unexpected year from Kelli Kufta kept Huntington Beach strong," 8 July 2018 Cougars hitting coach Rick Short was known as a utility player over his 16-year professional career, manning every position but catcher, center field and pitcher. Paul Johnson, Naperville Sun, "Javier Baez, Ian Happ, Ben Zobrist ... and Ryan Grotjohn: Cougars getting good use out of everyday utility player," 7 July 2018 Andrew Romine, the utility player who spends perhaps the most time with Suzuki during games, said that Suzuki holds an informal round table at the indoor batting cage each night. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Ichiro Suzuki’s New Job Comes With Most of the Old Trappings," 5 July 2018

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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Statistics for utility

Last Updated

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for utility

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

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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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Comments on utility

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


a strong desire or propensity

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