See more synonyms for utter on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to give audible expression to; speak or pronounce: unable to utter her feelings; Words were uttered in my hearing.
  2. to give forth (cries, notes, etc.) with the voice: to utter a sigh.
  3. Phonetics. to produce (speech sounds, speechlike sounds, syllables, words, etc.) audibly, with or without reference to formal language.
  4. to express (oneself or itself), especially in words.
  5. to give forth (a sound) otherwise than with the voice: The engine uttered a shriek.
  6. to express by written or printed words.
  7. to make publicly known; publish: to utter a libel.
  8. to put into circulation, as coins, notes, and especially counterfeit money or forged checks.
  9. to expel; emit.
  10. Obsolete. to publish, as a book.
  11. Obsolete. to sell.
verb (used without object)
  1. to employ the faculty of speech; use the voice to talk, make sounds, etc.: His piety prevented him from uttering on religion.
  2. to sustain utterance; undergo speaking: Those ideas are so dishonest they will not utter.

Origin of utter

1350–1400; Middle English outren (see out, -er6); cognate with German äussern to declare
Related formsut·ter·a·ble, adjectiveut·ter·er, nounut·ter·less, adjectiveun·ut·tered, adjective
Can be confusedudder utter


  1. complete; total; absolute: her utter abandonment to grief.
  2. unconditional; unqualified: an utter denial.

Origin of utter

before 900; Middle English; Old English uttra, ūtera outer. See out, -er4
Related formsut·ter·ness, noun

Synonym study

1. See absolute.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for utter

Contemporary Examples of utter

Historical Examples of utter

  • No one has seen him shed a tear, of heard him utter a complaint.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I am more grateful to you than words can utter—and I will always be glad to do anything for you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Yet he failed not to regard these indulgences as utter folly.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He gazes at me, as if he were about to utter a word of paternal advice.

  • One of the marvellous things about the child was his utter lack of favouritism.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for utter


  1. to give audible expression to (something)to utter a growl
  2. criminal law to put into circulation (counterfeit coin, forged banknotes, etc)
  3. (tr) to make publicly known; publishto utter slander
  4. obsolete to give forth, issue, or emit
Derived Formsutterable, adjectiveutterableness, nounutterer, nounutterless, adjective

Word Origin for utter

C14: probably originally a commercial term, from Middle Dutch ūteren (modern Dutch uiteren) to make known; related to Middle Low German ūtern to sell, show


  1. (prenominal) (intensifier)an utter fool; utter bliss; the utter limit

Word Origin for utter

C15: from Old English utera outer, comparative of ūte out (adv); related to Old High German ūzaro, Old Norse ūtri
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

Word Origin and History for utter

"complete, total," Old English utera, uterra, "outer," comparative adjective formed from ut (see out), from Proto-Germanic *utizon (cf. Old Norse utar, Old Frisian uttra, Middle Dutch utere, Dutch uiter-, Old High German uzar, German äußer "outer").


"speak, say," c.1400, in part from Middle Low German utern "to turn out, show, speak," from uter "outer," comparative adj. formed from ut "out;" in part from Middle English verb outen "to disclose," from Old English utan "to put out," from ut (see out). Cf. German äussern "to utter, express," from aus "out;" and colloquial phrase out with it "speak up!" Formerly also used as a commercial verb (as release is now). Related: Uttered; uttering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper