The adjective utilitarian describes something that is useful or functional. If you are attracted to a car for its storage space and gas mileage — as opposed to its sparkly tire rims — then chances are you value a car's utilitarian features.

The word utilitarian was coined by the philosopher and judge Jeremy Bentham, who argued that his principle of utility would create the "greatest happiness for the greatest number of people." The noun form of utilitarian refers to a person who adheres to this philosophy of usefulness. "They couldn't agree on the decor for their living room. She wanted whimsy — delicate tables, fragile statues of fairies and unicorns, and cushions on the floor to sit on. He wanted something more utilitarian and useful — comfortable chairs, a giant TV, and sturdy tables to put your feet on."

Definitions of utilitarian

adj having a useful function

utilitarian steel tables”
designed for or capable of a particular function or use

adj having utility often to the exclusion of values

“plain utilitarian kitchenware”
useful, utile
being of use or service

n someone who believes that the value of a thing depends on its utility

Type of:
a philosopher who specializes in morals and moral problems

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