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

Examples from the Web for utterable

Historical Examples of utterable

  • Her eyes were filled with an utterable longing, which a man may see but once in his life—and well for him if he never sees it.

  • Her brown hair lay in little curls about her temples and her big dark eyes were full of an utterable sorrow.

    The Price of the Prairie

    Margaret Hill McCarter

British Dictionary definitions for utterable


  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 utterable



"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