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.

Definitions of utility
  1. noun
    the quality of being of practical use
    synonyms: usefulness
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    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
  2. noun
    (economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
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    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
  3. adjective
    used of beef; usable but inferior
    synonyms: utility-grade
    inferior
    of low or inferior quality
  4. noun
    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
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    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
  5. noun
    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”
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    type of:
    service
    work done by one person or group that benefits another
  6. noun
    a company that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
    synonyms: public utility, public utility company, public-service corporation
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    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
  7. noun
    (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
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    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
  8. adjective
    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
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