- 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
Examples from the Web for utilities
The popularity of solar leasing is inspiring moves like this by utilities.Panel Discussion
The Daily Beast
September 8, 2014
Utilities and real estate developers would start making home-charging stations standard rather than expensive extras.Tesla’s Radical Patent Move is a Plot to Take Over the Road
June 15, 2014
In California, for example, the utilities earn profits even as people and businesses use less energy.
For the first time, utilities nationwide will have a financial incentive to decrease electricity usage.
And in 43 states, utilities are required to buy the power that a rooftop system produces but does not use.Solar Power Burns Old Utilities’ Business Models
April 24, 2014
She is ballasted with utilities; not altogether with unusable pig-lead and kentledge.Moby Dick; or The Whale
To compare these advantages with the virtues and utilities would be foolish.The Poet at the Breakfast Table
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
It was with this world that the practical affairs and utilities of men were connected.Reconstruction in Philosophy
Teach her all the accomplishments, but none of the utilities of life.Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. I (of 4).--1841-1857
Charles L. Graves
The tendency has been to limit all the utilities of a railroad to transportation.Letters from an Old Railway Official
Charles DeLano Hine
- the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
- (as modifier)a utility fabric
- something useful
- a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
- (as modifier)utility vehicle
- the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
- the amount of such satisfactionSee disutility
- Also called: utility truck, (informal) ute Australian and NZ 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 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.