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

Examples of utter in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Has there ever been an app more American seeming than TikTok, with its messy democratic creativity, exhibitionism, utter lack of limits and vast variety of hustlers? Callie Holtermann, New York Times, 19 May 2024 A couple of dozen times a year, the satellite will pass suddenly into the utter darkness of Earth’s shadow, causing temperatures to swing by around 300 °C, well beyond the usual operating range of electronics. IEEE Spectrum, 9 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for utter 

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

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 28 May. 2024.

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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