utility

noun
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

utility

adjective

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

Noun

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The judge presiding over the bankruptcy of PG&E Corp. is worried that another year of wildfires could upend the utility’s efforts to pull out of massive financial and legal trouble. Peg Brickley, WSJ, "PG&E Bankruptcy Financing Stumbles on Worries About More Fires," 13 Mar. 2019 Inspired by the universal utility of the material, Troy was determined to explore rebar beyond its immediate purpose. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Bold and Sculptural New Furniture Collection Inspired by the Basics," 26 Feb. 2019 The utilities were more than happy to work with me: Apartment buildings are tough. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "My Patent Story: A Smarter Electrical Metering System Than the Utilities Had," 21 Feb. 2019 Following the rescue meant coming to appreciate cave geology, the dangers of cave diving, the risks of running out of oxygen in a cave, and the utility of sedatives in an emergency. Brian Resnick, Vox, "10 science stories in 2018 that made us go, “Whoa, that’s awesome”," 18 Dec. 2018 WE Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said the gas main strike was reported to the utility ahead of the blast, and first responders were working to shut off the gas to secure the area. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Wisconsin gas explosion levels Main Street buildings; firefighters, police officer reported injured," 2 Oct. 2018 The utility expected to complete repairs by midnight. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Power outages to 3,700 near Clairemont; National City," 14 July 2018 In the space of eight hours, Trump had moved from doubting the utility of the mutual defense alliance and provoking an extraordinary emergency session of its members to declaring the pact stronger than ever. Zeke Miller, Washington Post, "Analysis: Trump’s questionable claims of success," 13 July 2018 In a press release Wednesday, the utility said Diaz-Granados’s pay was in line with industry standards, citing an American Public Power Association formula based on utilities’ revenue. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for utility

Noun

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

17 Mar 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

utility

noun

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.

utility

adjective

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

utility

noun
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

utility

noun
util·​i·​ty
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

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