View synonyms for utility


[ yoo-til-i-tee ]


, plural u·til·i·ties.
  1. the state or quality of being useful; usefulness:

    This chemical has no utility as an agricultural fertilizer.

  2. something useful; a useful thing.
  3. a public service, as a system to provide water or electricity, a railroad line, a cell tower network, or the like. Compare public utility ( def 1 ).
  4. Often utilities. a useful or advantageous factor or feature:

    the relative utilities of a religious or a secular education.

  5. Economics. the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.
  6. the principle and end of the ethical doctrine of utilitarianism; well-being or happiness; that which is conducive to the happiness and well-being of the greatest number.
  7. Computers.
    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  8. utilities, stocks or bonds of public utilities.
  9. a grade of beef immediately below commercial.


  1. (of domestic animals) raised or kept as a potentially profitable product rather than for show or as pets: utility livestock.

    utility breeds;

    utility livestock.

  2. having or made for a number of useful or practical purposes rather than a single, specialized one:

    a utility knife.

  3. designed chiefly for use or service rather than beauty, high quality, or the like: utility furniture.

    a utility vehicle;

    utility furniture.


/ juːˈtɪlɪtɪ /


    1. the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
    2. ( as modifier )

      a utility fabric

  1. something useful
    1. a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
    2. ( as modifier )

      utility vehicle

  2. economics
    1. the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
    2. the amount of such satisfaction See disutility
  3. statistics
    1. a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
    2. ( as modifier ) See also expected utility decision theory

      utility function

  4. Also calledutility truckinformalute a small truck with an open body and low sides, often with a removable tarpaulin cover; pick-up
  5. a piece of computer software designed for a routine task, such as examining or copying files

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Other Words From

  • non·u·til·i·ty noun plural nonutilities

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Word History and Origins

Origin of utility1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English utilite, from Old French utilite, utelite, from Latin ūtilitāt-, stem of ūtilitās, equivalent to ūtil(is) “useful” + -itās noun suffix; utile, -ity

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Word History and Origins

Origin of utility1

C14: from Old French utelite , from Latin ūtilitās usefulness, from ūtī to use

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Example Sentences

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.

From Eater

Scores of utilities announced their own voluntary moratoriums.

From 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.

They also advise passing on REITs, telecom, and multi-utilities.

From 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.

From Fortune

But those weapons are of limited utility, especially during close-in fights.

In essence, he “invented” the idea of a utility company, which would power the light bulbs and other devices people might plug in.

According to the courts, the Internet is not considered a utility and therefore not subject to such regulations.

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.

Much like Cosmo itself, the slideshow is pretty to look at but lacking in substance and utility.

To place wit above sense is to place superfluity above utility.

These Eskimos were very fond of kite-flying, for its own sake, without reference to utility!

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.


Related Words

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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.

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What are some other forms related to utility?

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.

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.




utilitarianismutility function