- Also called u·til·i·ty pro·gram . a piece of software used to perform standard operations involved in managing and maintaining the system itself, such as backing up data, copying data from one drive to another, restoring corrupted files, etc.: The suite includes a minimal set of utilities, including an encryption wizard for encrypting and decrypting personal files.
- an app for a smartphone, such as a calculator, compass, etc., performing one simple function used in the course of carrying out some other activity: The measuring app and other utilities are all accessed in one place on your phone screen.
Origin of utility
OTHER WORDS FROM utilitynon·u·til·i·ty, noun, plural non·u·til·i·ties.
Words nearby utility
MORE ABOUT UTILITY
What does utility mean?
A utility is something that is of service or serves a purpose.
Broadly, a utility is anything that is useful. It is paired with many nouns that are commonly useful, such as a utility knife (a knife useful for cutting many things), a utility belt (a belt with pockets and loops to hold many things), and a utility room (a room in a house where the furnace, washing machine and other appliances are kept).
In relation to modern life, a utility is a public service used by a household, such as water, electricity, or trash and recycling pickups. A bill for one of these services might be referred to as a utility bill.
Utility can also refer to specific benefits that you would receive from taking part in an event or service, as in What is the utility of joining a union?
In economics, utility specifically refers to a product’s or service’s ability to satisfy consumer needs.
Example: That machine has great utility if you know how to use it.
Where does utility come from?
The first records of the term utility come from the 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin ūtilis, meaning “useful.” Utility can be used as a noun form of the word useful, as well as other meanings.
You might have heard of a public utility. This is a business that provides an essential public service, or utility, such as trash removal or TV cable service. Because what they provide is considered necessary to support human life, public utilities are regulated by the government. People who work for these businesses are often generally called utility workers.
If you’ve looked around in your computer, you might have found a program called a utility. A utility program is software that runs some standard tasks and is usually important to the correct functioning of the software it is associated with, especially for the computer system.
Did you know … ?
What are some other forms related to utility?
- utilitarian (adjective)
- nonutility (noun)
What are some synonyms for utility?
What are some words that share a root or word element with utility?
What are some words that often get used in discussing utility?
How is utility used in real life?
Utility is normally used in the context of work or finances. It’s also used frequently in terms of public services, such as electric and water services.
I want to give my special thanks to the more than 350 New York utility workers who are spending their Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico helping to restore the power grid. Your hard work makes us proud.
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 23, 2017
BREAKING: FCC to forbid firms from slowing Internet traffic, regulate them like utility in new rules expected to be announced Thursday – DJ
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) February 2, 2015
I just got home and and my dog wanted to celebrate so he grabbed a mouthful of dryer lint from the utility room floor and started throwing it around 🎉- I wouldn’t trade my Saturday night for anybody’s!
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) June 17, 2018
Try using utility!
Is utility used correctly in the following sentence?
Not everyone agrees that internet access is a utility like electricity, but most people can’t manage their lives without it.
How to use utility in a sentence
The restaurant, which, according to the post, is only bringing in about 10 percent of the revenue it did before the pandemic, still has rent, payroll, and utilities to cover.Is the Government Just Going to Watch the Restaurant Industry Die?|Elazar Sontag|August 28, 2020|Eater
Scores of utilities announced their own voluntary moratoriums.Bans on electricity shutoffs for 76 million Americans are being lifted|Michael J. Coren|August 27, 2020|Quartz
The utility giant announced that two of its employees lost their jobs over allegations they had taken bribes from the company, known as Bay Area Concrete Recycling.The Mystery House: How a Suspicious Multimillion Dollar Real Estate Deal Is Connected to California’s Deadliest Fire|by Scott Morris, Bay City News Foundation|August 26, 2020|ProPublica
They also advise passing on REITs, telecom, and multi-utilities.12 value stocks to buy right now—and 3 to avoid—according to Bank of America|Anne Sraders|August 25, 2020|Fortune
In getting the patent, Cansino had to demonstrate that its candidate qualifies as an invention, meaning that it was able to show a new “inventive step” and “utility,” says Mercurio.China just issued its first COVID vaccine patent. What it means for the vaccine race|Grady McGregor|August 18, 2020|Fortune
But those weapons are of limited utility, especially during close-in fights.New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019|Dave Majumdar|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In essence, he “invented” the idea of a utility company, which would power the light bulbs and other devices people might plug in.From Edison to Jobs|The Daily Beast|September 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
According to the courts, the Internet is not considered a utility and therefore not subject to such regulations.Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf: Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality|Aurora Snow|September 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In 2010, in what it says was the first such effort by a U.S. utility, APS placed panels on 125 homes in Flagstaff—for no charge.Panel Discussion|The Daily Beast|September 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Much like Cosmo itself, the slideshow is pretty to look at but lacking in substance and utility.I Tried Cosmo’s Lesbian Sex Tips and They Were Terrible|Samantha Allen|July 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
To place wit above sense is to place superfluity above utility.Pearls of Thought|Maturin M. Ballou
These Eskimos were very fond of kite-flying, for its own sake, without reference to utility!The Giant of the North|R.M. Ballantyne
They have well established their utility in different parts of the kingdom, and any number would sell.
It will therefore prove an investigation of greater utility to the public than anything yet introduced.
There is no wood of any size to be procured among the islands, which is a great drawback upon its utility as a port.
British Dictionary definitions for utility
- the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
- (as modifier)a utility fabric
- 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
- a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
- (as modifier)utility function See also expected utility, decision theory