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utility

[yoo-til-i-tee] /yuˈtɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural utilities.
1.
the state or quality of being useful; usefulness:
This chemical has no utility as an agricultural fertilizer.
2.
something useful; a useful thing.
3.
a public service, as a telephone or electric-light system, a streetcar or railroad line, or the like.
Compare public utility (def 1).
4.
Often, utilities. a useful or advantageous factor or feature:
the relative utilities of a religious or a secular education.
5.
Economics. the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.
6.
the principle and end of utilitarian ethics; well-being or happiness; that which is conducive to the happiness and well-being of the greatest number.
7.
Computers. utility program.
8.
utilities, stocks or bonds of public utilities.
9.
a grade of beef immediately below commercial.
adjective
10.
(of domestic animals) raised or kept as a potentially profitable product rather than for show or as pets:
utility breeds; utility livestock.
11.
having or made for a number of useful or practical purposes rather than a single, specialized one:
a utility knife.
12.
designed chiefly for use or service rather than beauty, high quality, or the like:
a utility vehicle; utility furniture.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English utilite < Old French utelite < Latin ūtilitās, equivalent to ūtil(is) useful (see utile) + -itās -ity
Related forms
nonutility, noun, plural nonutilities.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for nonutility

utility

/juːˈtɪlɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
  1. the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
  2. (as modifier): a utility fabric
2.
something useful
3.
  1. a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
  2. (as modifier): utility vehicle
4.
(economics)
  1. the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
  2. the amount of such satisfaction See disutility
5.
(statistics)
  1. a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
  2. (as modifier): utility function See also expected utility, decision theory
6.
(Austral & NZ) Also called utility truck, (informal) ute. a small truck with an open body and low sides, often with a removable tarpaulin cover; pick-up
7.
a piece of computer software designed for a routine task, such as examining or copying files
Word Origin
C14: from Old French utelite, from Latin ūtilitās usefulness, from ūtī to use
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
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Word Origin and History for nonutility

utility

n.

late 14c., "fact of being useful," from Old French utilite "usefulness" (late 13c.), earlier utilitet (12c.), from Latin utilitatem (nominative utilitas) "usefulness, serviceableness, profit," from utilis "usable," from uti (see use (v.)). As a shortened form of public utility it is recorded from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for nonutility

utility

in economics, the determination of the prices of goods and services.

Learn more about utility with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Word Value for nonutility

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