Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quality or condition of being useful; usefulness: "I have always doubted the utility of these conferences on disarmament” ( Winston S. Churchill).
  • n. A useful article or device.
  • n. A public utility.
  • n. A commodity or service, such as electricity, water, or public transportation, that is provided by a public utility.
  • n. Computer Science A utility program.
  • adj. Used, serving, or working in several capacities as needed, especially:
  • adj. Prepared to play any of the smaller theatrical roles on short notice: a utility cast member.
  • adj. Capable of playing as a substitute in any of several positions: a utility infielder.
  • adj. Designed for various often heavy-duty practical uses: a utility knife; a utility vehicle.
  • adj. Raised or kept for the production of a farm product rather than for show or as pets: utility livestock.
  • adj. Of the lowest U.S. Government grade: utility beef.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state or condition of being useful; usefulness.
  • n. Something that is useful.
  • n. The ability of a commodity to satisfy needs or wants; the satisfaction experienced by the consumer of that commodity.
  • n. A service provider, such as an electric company or water company; or, the securities of such a provider.
  • n. A software program designed to perform a single task or a small range of tasks, often to help manage and tune computer hardware, an operating system or application software.
  • n. The ability to play multiple positions.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being useful; usefulness; production of good; profitableness to some valuable end.
  • n. Adaptation to satisfy the desires or wants; intrinsic value. See Note under Value, 2.
  • n. Happiness; the greatest good, or happiness, of the greatest number, -- the foundation of utilitarianism.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In political economics, the capacity of an object for the satisfaction of a human want.
  • n. The character of being useful; usefulness; profitableness; the state of being serviceable or conducive to some desirable or valuable end.
  • n. Use; profit.
  • n. A useful thing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a facility composed of one or more pieces of equipment connected to or part of a structure and designed to provide a service such as heat or electricity or water or sewage disposal
  • n. (economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
  • n. a company that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
  • n. the service (electric power or water or transportation) provided by a public utility
  • adj. capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team
  • adj. used of beef; usable but inferior
  • n. the quality of being of practical use
  • n. (computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer

Etymologies

Middle English utilite, from Old French, from Latin ūtilitās, from ūtilis, useful, from ūtī, to use.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French utilitet ("usefulness") (Modern French utilité), ultimately from Latin uti ("to use, enjoy"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That is, when we say that an agent acts so as to maximize her utility, we mean by ˜utility™ simply whatever it is that the agent's behavior suggests her to consistently desire.

    Game Theory

  • PKG_SOURCE: = bridge-utils-$ (PKG_VERSION). tar.gz PKG_SOURCE_URL: = @SF / bridge PKG_MD5SUM: = 9b7dc52656f5cbec846a7ba3299f73bd PKG_CAT: = zcat include $ (INCLUDE_DIR) / package. mk define Package / bridge SECTION: = base CATEGORY: = Network DEFAULT: = y TITLE: = Ethernet bridging configuration utility DESCRIPTION: = Ethernet bridging configuration utility\\\

    OpenWrt : News

  • Finally, still other neoclassicists use the term utility as a formal attribute, a common denominator, according to which all specific quests for satisfaction can be ranked, a step needed to allow mathematization and to shore up the assumption of a mono-utility world but with no substantive attributes, the great X.

    THE MORAL DIMENSION

  • Making complex hydrocarbons obsolete in utility is something only a lawyer could come up with; sorry.

    Is That Legal?: Coddling the Coddlers

  • Using the utility is about as easy as it gets — just launch it and go through the screens to scan your computer for compatibility with the newest version of Windows.

    Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Scans Your System For Compatibility | Lifehacker Australia

  • Using the utility is a no-brainer: just start it up and choose whether to start the screensaver or turn off the monitor when you lock the workstation — the options for pausing media or setting your messenger status are under the Options button.

    MonitorES Pauses Media, Turns Off Monitor When You Lock Your PC | Lifehacker Australia

  • But many Web sites are network goods (in the economic as well as technical sense), such that their utility is a function of large numbers of people converging on a few big ones.

    Equal Opportunity Internet

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission said its investigation of this type of vehicle, which it calls a utility terrain vehicle, or UTV, was prompted by various factors, including the number of accident reports and the lawsuits.

    U.S. Probes Off-Road Vehicles

  • Additionally, the average roll when landing on a utility is a bit lower or higher than 7 depending on the utility and the jail strategy, which affects the rent value.

    Boing Boing: September 14, 2003 - September 20, 2003 Archives

  • AT&T also offers what it calls utility hosting based partly on 3PAR's InServ Storage Server arrays.

    SearchStorage: News and trends in the storage industry

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.