utility

[yoo-til-i-tee]
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; Middle English utilite < Old French utelite < Latin ūtilitās, equivalent to ūtil(is) useful (see utile) + -itās -ity

nonutility, noun, plural nonutilities.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
utility (juːˈtɪlɪtɪ)
 
n , pl -ties
1.  a.  the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
 b.  (as modifier): a utility fabric
2.  something useful
3.  a.  a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
 b.  (as modifier): utility vehicle
4.  economics
 a.  the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
 b.  See disutility the amount of such satisfaction
5.  statistics
 a.  a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
 b.  expected utility See also decision theory (as modifier): utility function
6.  (Austral), (NZ) utility truck, Also called: 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
 
[C14: from Old French utelite, from Latin ūtilitās usefulness, from ūtī to use]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

utility
1391, "fact of being useful," from O.Fr. utilite "usefulness" (1291), earlier utilitet (12c.), from L. utilitatem (nom. utilitas) "usefulness, serviceableness, profit," from utilis "usable," from uti (see use). As a shortened form of public utility it is recorded from 1930.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Likewise, the policy of public ownership of railroads and certain electric
  utilities met with unmistakable defeat.
Privatization of the large, state-owned utilities is nearly complete.
They cannot rent an apartment or get utilities turn on, they have ruined credit
  by missing payments on their student loan.
He's managed to get some side work writing for a local newspaper but that
  hardly pays his utilities each month.
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