From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Utility \U*til"i*ty\, n. [OE. utilite, F. utilit['e], L.
   utilitas, fr. utilis useful. See Utile.]
   [1913 Webster]
   1. The quality or state of being useful; usefulness;
      production of good; profitableness to some valuable end;
      as, the utility of manure upon land; the utility of the
      sciences; the utility of medicines.
      [1913 Webster]

            The utility of the enterprises was, however, so
            great and obvious that all opposition proved
            useless.                              --Macaulay.
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   2. (Polit. Econ.) Adaptation to satisfy the desires or wants;
      intrinsic value. See Note under Value, 2.
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            Value in use is utility, and nothing else, and in
            political economy should be called by that name and
            no other.                             --F. A.
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   3. Happiness; the greatest good, or happiness, of the
      greatest number, -- the foundation of utilitarianism. --J.
      S. Mill.
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   Syn: Usefulness; advantageous; benefit; profit; avail;

   Usage: Utility, Usefulness. Usefulness has an Anglo-Saxon
          prefix, utility is Latin; and hence the former is used
          chiefly of things in the concrete, while the latter is
          employed more in a general and abstract sense. Thus,
          we speak of the utility of an invention, and the
          usefulness of the thing invented; of the utility of an
          institution, and the usefulness of an individual. So
          beauty and utility (not usefulness) are brought into
          comparison. Still, the words are often used
          [1913 Webster]
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