1 of 2


ut·​ter ˈə-tər How to pronounce utter (audio)
: carried to the utmost point or highest degree : absolute, total
utter darkness
utter strangers


2 of 2


uttered; uttering; utters

transitive verb

: to send forth as a sound
utter a sigh
: to give utterance to : pronounce, speak
refused to utter his name
: to give public expression to : express in words
utter an opinion
: to put (notes, currency, etc.) into circulation
specifically : to circulate (something, such as a forged or counterfeit note) as if legal or genuine
utter false tokens
: to put forth or out : discharge
obsolete : to offer for sale

intransitive verb

: to make a statement or sound
utterable adjective
utterer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for utter

express, vent, utter, voice, broach, air mean to make known what one thinks or feels.

express suggests an impulse to reveal in words, gestures, actions, or what one creates or produces.

expressed her feelings in music

vent stresses a strong inner compulsion to express especially in words.

a tirade venting his frustration

utter implies the use of the voice not necessarily in articulate speech.

utter a groan

voice does not necessarily imply vocal utterance but does imply expression or formulation in words.

an editorial voicing their concerns

broach adds the implication of disclosing for the first time something long thought over or reserved for a suitable occasion.

broached the subject of a divorce

air implies an exposing or parading of one's views often in order to gain relief or sympathy or attention.

publicly airing their differences

Example Sentences

Adjective It's hard to believe that we were utter strangers just a few days ago. The situation descended into utter chaos. The children displayed an utter lack of interest in the performance. The movie was utter garbage. That argument is utter nonsense. Verb She uttered a cry of pleasure. He can hardly utter a sentence without swearing. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
But the complete and utter meltdown Southwest Airlines is currently having is unprecedented. Krista Simmons, Sunset Magazine, 27 Dec. 2022 No doubt the federal government can change the face of markets to varying degrees (most of all, strangle them), and the Fed is part of the federal government, but to pretend that these interventions lift any economy is utter nonsense. John Tamny, Forbes, 6 July 2022 Both Perkins and Thomas have been around the game long enough to know that this, of course, is utter nonsense. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 9 June 2022 The common thread in the losses in the 2-2 record on this five-game that concludes Friday night against the Phoenix Suns has been an utter lack of defensive deterrence at moments of truth. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 5 Jan. 2023 While people weren’t shy about responding, what ended up standing out is the utter lack of consensus. al, 6 Dec. 2022 But the members zeroed in on the program’s utter lack of transparency. Steven Levy, WIRED, 8 Nov. 2022 As portrayed by Sen’s documentary, this is a life equally defined by devotion and utter lack. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 28 Oct. 2022 Meanwhile, the electric motor is pulling steadily all the way through, hence the utter lack of head bobbing at each simu-upshift. Dan Edmunds, Car and Driver, 18 Oct. 2022
But to step out of line during class and utter a single expression of approval of one of the State of Florida’s disfavored ideas is to risk discipline or even termination. The Enquirer, 23 Nov. 2022 Then, right after Rhaenyra and Laenor utter their vows in a private ceremony, Viserys collapses once again. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 18 Sep. 2022 The first step in delivering a great Oscars speech is being able to catch your breath long enough to utter it. Joe Reid, Vulture, 25 Mar. 2022 Receiver Amari Cooper was one of the first players to publicly utter his thoughts that this Cowboys team was special. Dallas News, 17 Jan. 2022 Just trying to utter it aloud perfectly encapsulates its meaning (confused and disconcerted). David Adam, Discover Magazine, 16 May 2021 The board sat in silence that night, and for the next five months refused to utter a word in my defense. Martha Hickson, CNN, 31 Oct. 2022 When Diana asks if Erika doesn’t feel badly about the air crash victims’ families, Erika still refuses to utter a sympathetic word. oregonlive, 14 Sep. 2022 Fisch didn’t utter a critical word about his defense. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 19 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, remote, from Old English ūtera outer, comparative adjective from ūt out, adverb — more at out


Middle English uttren, from utter outside, adverb, from Old English ūtor, comparative of ūt out

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of utter was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near utter

Cite this Entry

“Utter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utter. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
ut·​ter ˈət-ər How to pronounce utter (audio)
: complete in extent or degree : total
an utter impossibility
utter strangers
utterly adverb


2 of 2 verb
: to send forth usually as a sound
uttered a laugh
: to express in words
forced to utter the truth

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to put (as a counterfeit note) into circulation as if genuine
convicted of uttering a forged check
utterer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on utter

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