Definition of utility in English:

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Pronunciation: /juːˈtɪlɪti/

noun (plural utilities)

1 [mass noun] The state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial: he had a poor opinion of the utility of book learning
More example sentences
  • This last appendix is useful, however its utility could have been improved by including a World Wide Web address for each of these companies.
  • She has certainly convinced the reviewers of the value of exercise for all persons and particularly of its efficacy and utility for clinical populations.
  • I'm sure there's some utility in emergency services practicing working together, but this seems far too choreographed to root out real bugs in the response system.
usefulness, use, advantage, benefit, value, help, helpfulness, profitability, convenience, practicality, effectiveness, efficacy, avail, service, serviceableness, advantageousness;
feasibility, viability, workability, practicability, possibility
informal mileage
1.1(In game theory or economics) a measure of that which is sought to be maximized in any situation involving a choice.
Example sentences
  • We assume that the object of the rational individual person is to maximize utility given the choices and constraints facing the person.
  • They deemed it sufficient that a man be left to his own devices to maximise his economic utility.
  • As any economist will tell you, a market is based on rational individuals maximizing their utility through economic exchange.
2A public utility.
Example sentences
  • The final vote at the National Assembly on the privatisation bill to transform utilities into limited liability companies will be held on June 22.
  • The trend to contract out the management of the utilities to outside companies commanded attention.
  • In any case, privatized utilities need strong public regulation, which is difficult and expensive to do well.
3 Computing A utility program: a handy utility for converting one graphics file type to another
More example sentences
  • The user may agree to install a small utility that includes spyware as part of the download.
  • The trial of a Norwegian teen accused of developing a utility that enables people to illegally copy DVD movies opened in Oslo yesterday.
  • Customers have access to many freeware programs, including utilities, productivity tools and development tools.
4Australian /NZ A utility vehicle.
Example sentences
  • The 44-year-old nursing student was hit by a utility while cycling along Newitt Street on Thursday morning.
  • She was tied, gagged and bundled into the back of the utility.
  • The driver of the utility was in shock, with minor injuries, he said.


1Useful, especially through being able to perform several functions: a utility truck
More example sentences
  • Though normally functioning as a utility tool, the knife can be an effective close-quarters backup weapon if you know what you're doing with it.
  • A concrete outhouse immediately outside the kitchen is fully plumbed and vented for a washing machine and tumble dryer and functions as a utility area.
  • We picked up a neat set of utility shelving, manufactured from recycled plastic, to go in the garage.
1.1Denoting a player capable of playing in several different positions in a sport: a utility player
More example sentences
  • I was a utility player - played every position but first and pitcher.
  • We have got a lot of utility players who can play in a few positions and we can change systems when it becomes necessary.
  • And if a player doesn't have great talent, learning several positions can make him more valuable as a role or utility player.
2Functional rather than attractive: utility clothing
More example sentences
  • I am looking at their jobs as civilians and in the military and focusing on how they coped with rationing and utility clothing.
  • Somehow, you don't sound like the sort of person who can stick to utility alone - you'll just end up seeking out obscure brands of utility clothing!
  • Dirt covered my already brown pants, and it was smeared all up my bare chest, and the utility vest was just plain filthy.


Late Middle English: from Old French utilite, from Latin utilitas, from utilis 'useful'.

Words that rhyme with utility

ability, agility, civility, debility, docility, edibility, facility, fertility, flexility, fragility, futility, gentility, hostility, humility, imbecility, infantility, juvenility, liability, mobility, nihility, nobility, nubility, puerility, senility, servility, stability, sterility, tactility, tranquillity (US tranquility), usability, versatility, viability, virility, volatility

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: util|ity

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