Utility U*til"i*ty, n. [OE. utilite, F. utilit['e], L. utilitas, fr. utilis useful. See {Utile}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The quality or state of being useful; usefulness; production of good; profitableness to some valuable end; as, the utility of manure upon land; the utility of the sciences; the utility of medicines. [1913 Webster]

The utility of the enterprises was, however, so great and obvious that all opposition proved useless. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

2. (Polit. Econ.) Adaptation to satisfy the desires or wants; intrinsic value. See Note under {Value}, 2. [1913 Webster]

Value in use is utility, and nothing else, and in political economy should be called by that name and no other. --F. A. Walker. [1913 Webster]

3. Happiness; the greatest good, or happiness, of the greatest number, -- the foundation of utilitarianism. --J. S. Mill. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Usefulness; advantageous; benefit; profit; avail; service.

Usage: {Utility}, {Usefulness}. Usefulness has an Anglo-Saxon prefix, utility is Latin; and hence the former is used chiefly of things in the concrete, while the latter is employed more in a general and abstract sense. Thus, we speak of the utility of an invention, and the usefulness of the thing invented; of the utility of an institution, and the usefulness of an individual. So beauty and utility (not usefulness) are brought into comparison. Still, the words are often used interchangeably. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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