utility

If you live in a place where the temperature never drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and someone gives you a snow-blower for your birthday, you might question the gift’s utility, meaning its “usefulness.”

Utility means “of practical use.” We refer to government facilities that provide water, electricity and natural gas as public utilities. Utility is similar to the word utilize, which is basically a stuffy word for use.

Primary Meanings of utility

1.
nadj
the quality of being of practical use
used of beef; usable but inferior
2.
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
3.
n
(computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer
4.
adj
capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team
Full Definitions of utility
1

n the quality of being of practical use

Synonyms:
usefulness
Antonyms:
inutility, unusefulness, uselessness
the quality of having no practical use
Types:
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detergence, detergency
detergent quality; the quality of having cleansing power
function, purpose, role, use
what something is used for
helpfulness
the property of providing useful assistance
use
a particular service
serviceability, serviceableness, usability, usableness, useableness
the quality of being able to provide good service
instrumentality
the quality of being instrumental for some purpose
practicality
concerned with actual use rather than theoretical possibilities
practicability, practicableness
the quality of being usable
raison d'etre
the purpose that justifies a thing's existence
avail, help, service
a means of serving
functionality
capable of serving a purpose well
viability
capable of being done in a practical and useful way
sensibleness
the quality of showing good sense or practical judgment
pragmatism, realism
the attribute of accepting the facts of life and favoring practicality and literal truth
feasibility, feasibleness
the quality of being doable
Type of:
quality
an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone

n (economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice

Types:
marginal utility
(economics) the amount that utility increases with an increase of one unit of an economic good or service
Type of:
metric, system of measurement
a system of related measures that facilitates the quantification of some particular characteristic

adj used of beef; usable but inferior

Synonyms:
utility-grade
inferior
of low or inferior quality
2

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

“the price of the house included all utilities
Types:
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electrical plant, electrical system
utility that provides electricity
heat, heating, heating plant, heating system
utility to warm a building
plumbing, plumbing system
utility consisting of the pipes and fixtures for the distribution of water or gas in a building and for the disposal of sewage
central heating
a heating system in which air or water is heated at a central furnace and sent through the building via vents or pipes and radiators
gas heat
heating system that burns natural gas
panel heating
heating system consisting of wall or floor or baseboard or ceiling panels containing electric conductors or heating pipes
steam heat, steam heating
a heating system in which steam is generated in boilers and piped to radiators
Type of:
facility, installation
a building or place that provides a particular service or is used for a particular industry

n the service (electric power or water or transportation) provided by a public utility

“the cost of utilities never decreases”
“all the utilities were lost after the hurricane”
Type of:
service
work done by one person or group that benefits another

n a company that performs a public service; subject to government regulation

Synonyms:
public utility, public utility company, public-service corporation
Types:
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phone company, phone service, telco, telephone company, telephone service
a public utility that provides telephone service
electric company, light company, power company, power service
a public utility that provides electricity
water company, waterworks
a public utility that provides water
gas company, gas service
a public utility that provides gas
bus company, bus service
a public utility providing local transportation
Type of:
service
a company or agency that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
3

n (computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer

“a computer system provides utility programs to perform the tasks needed by most users”
Synonyms:
service program, utility program
Types:
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device driver, driver
(computer science) a program that determines how a computer will communicate with a peripheral device
diagnostic program
a program that recognizes and explains faults in the equipment or mistakes in a computer program
input program
a utility program that organizes the input to a computer
output program
a utility program that organizes the output of a computer
sort program, sorting program
a utility program that sorts data items
trace program
a utility program that exhibits the sequence and results of executing the instructions in another program
snapshot program
a trace program that produces output for selected conditions
Type of:
computer program, computer programme, program, programme
(computer science) a sequence of instructions that a computer can interpret and execute
4

adj capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team

“a utility infielder”
Synonyms:
substitute
secondary
being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate