Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[yoo-til-i-tee] /yuˈtɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural utilities.
the state or quality of being useful; usefulness:
This chemical has no utility as an agricultural fertilizer.
something useful; a useful thing.
a public service, as a telephone or electric-light system, a streetcar or railroad line, or the like.
Compare public utility (def 1).
Often, utilities. a useful or advantageous factor or feature:
the relative utilities of a religious or a secular education.
Economics. the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.
the principle and end of utilitarian ethics; well-being or happiness; that which is conducive to the happiness and well-being of the greatest number.
Computers. utility program.
utilities, stocks or bonds of public utilities.
a grade of beef immediately below commercial.
(of domestic animals) raised or kept as a potentially profitable product rather than for show or as pets:
utility breeds; utility livestock.
having or made for a number of useful or practical purposes rather than a single, specialized one:
a utility knife.
designed chiefly for use or service rather than beauty, high quality, or the like:
a utility vehicle; utility furniture.
Origin of utility
1350-1400; Middle English utilite < Old French utelite < Latin ūtilitās, equivalent to ūtil(is) useful (see utile) + -itās -ity
Related forms
nonutility, noun, plural nonutilities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for utilities
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But neither happiness nor the utilities that tend to promote it, possess it.

    Theoretical Ethics Milton Valentine
  • She is ballasted with utilities; not altogether with unusable pig-lead and kentledge.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • He tried to remember exactly how the utilities representative had worded what he'd said, and couldn't.

    Damned If You Don't Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Thus, the values attached to all utilities are expressed in monetary terms.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • When the white kernel has been turned to account, the utilities of the coconut are not exhausted.

    Concerning Animals and Other Matters E.H. Aitken, (AKA Edward Hamilton)
British Dictionary definitions for utilities


noun (pl) -ties
  1. the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
  2. (as modifier): a utility fabric
something useful
  1. a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
  2. (as modifier): utility vehicle
  1. the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
  2. the amount of such satisfaction See disutility
  1. a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
  2. (as modifier): utility function See also expected utility, decision theory
(Austral & NZ) Also called utility truck, (informal) ute. a small truck with an open body and low sides, often with a removable tarpaulin cover; pick-up
a piece of computer software designed for a routine task, such as examining or copying files
Word Origin
C14: from Old French utelite, from Latin ūtilitās usefulness, from ūtī to use
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for utilities



late 14c., "fact of being useful," from Old French utilite "usefulness" (late 13c.), earlier utilitet (12c.), from Latin utilitatem (nominative utilitas) "usefulness, serviceableness, profit," from utilis "usable," from uti (see use (v.)). As a shortened form of public utility it is recorded from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for utility

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for utilities

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for utilities