Definition of utilitarian in English:


Syllabification: u·til·i·tar·i·an
Pronunciation: /yo͞oˌtiləˈterēən


1Designed to be useful or practical rather than attractive.
More example sentences
  • Department stores do stock lots of bras in ‘plus’ sizes, but they tend to be ugly, utilitarian and practical bras designed for an older clientele.
  • They looked merely utilitarian and sensibly designed.
  • The scrapers seem to have functioned primarily as utilitarian items rather than prestige items.
practical, functional, pragmatic, serviceable, useful, sensible, efficient, utility, workaday, no-frills;
plain, unadorned, undecorative
2 Philosophy Of, relating to, or adhering to the doctrine of utilitarianism: a utilitarian theorist
More example sentences
  • He made a lasting contribution to moral and political philosophy by attacking the prevailing materialism and empiricism of utilitarian thinkers.
  • In England, the utilitarian doctrine of a higher public good trumped the idea of intellectual property rooted in natural right.
  • Modern philosophers tend to take a more utilitarian position.


Philosophy Back to top  
An adherent of utilitarianism.
More example sentences
  • Assigning particular rights to people may be a way to promote wellbeing, and when it is, utilitarians favour doing it.
  • It is no accident then, that the utilitarians were often called philosophical radicals.
  • The utilitarians, who were also known as Philosophical Radicals, believed in a rather simple social formula: reduce pain and increase pleasure.

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