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Usefulness vs. Utility: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Usefulness refers to the degree to which something is helpful or beneficial, while utility is a measure of the usefulness or functionality of something, often in economics or practical contexts.
Usefulness vs. Utility

Key Differences

Usefulness is a general term describing how beneficial or helpful something is. It implies the ability of something to satisfy a need or requirement. Utility, on the other hand, often carries a more specific, practical connotation, commonly used in economics to describe the satisfaction or benefit derived from a good or service.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
The term usefulness can apply to a wide range of contexts, from everyday objects to abstract concepts. It emphasizes the practicality and helpfulness of something. Utility is frequently used in technical and academic fields, particularly in economics, to discuss the value or efficiency of resources and choices.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Usefulness is often subjective, depending on individual needs or preferences. For instance, the usefulness of a book varies based on a reader's interest. Utility, in economics, attempts to quantify satisfaction or benefit, often in a more objective or measurable way.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Usefulness is a more common term in everyday language, easily understood and broadly applied. It's used to describe the general benefit of something. Utility, while also used in general language, has a more specialized usage in fields like economics, mathematics, and philosophy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Usefulness encompasses a wide variety of applications, from the practicality of tools to the relevance of information. Utility is often discussed in terms of maximizing benefits, efficiency, or optimizing choices, especially in economic theories.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

The degree to which something is beneficial or helpful
A measure of satisfaction or benefit, especially in economics
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Dec 25, 2023

Context of Use

Broad, general use in various contexts
Often used in specialized fields like economics
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Subjectivity/Objectivity

More subjective and variable
More objective, often quantifiable
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Scope

Can be applied to abstract and concrete items
Typically associated with practical, tangible benefits
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Common Usage

Everyday language
Technical language, especially in academic discourse
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Usefulness and Utility Definitions

Usefulness

The quality of being beneficial in achieving a goal.
The usefulness of regular exercise for health is well-known.
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Dec 25, 2023

Utility

In economics, a measure of the happiness or satisfaction gained from a good or service.
Economists debate how to best measure consumer utility.
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Dec 25, 2023

Usefulness

Practicality or helpfulness in a specific situation.
Her skills in carpentry were of great usefulness in the renovation.
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Utility

A service (like electricity or water) provided to the public.
The city is responsible for maintaining basic utilities.
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Dec 25, 2023

Usefulness

Suitability for a purpose.
The usefulness of this tool for gardening is evident.
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Utility

The quality or condition of being useful; usefulness
"I have always doubted the utility of these conferences on disarmament" (Winston S. Churchill).
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

The extent to which something can be used effectively.
The teacher evaluated the usefulness of the new curriculum.
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Dec 25, 2023

Utility

A useful article or device.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

The quality of being able to provide a benefit or meet a need.
The usefulness of the internet in research is unparalleled.
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Dec 25, 2023

Utility

A public utility.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

Having a beneficial use; serviceable
A useful kitchen gadget.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

A commodity or service, such as electricity, water, or public transportation, that is provided by a public utility.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

Being of practical use
A useful job.
Useful members of society.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(Computers) A utility program.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

The quality or degree of being useful.
The usefulness of his latest reorganisation has been disputed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(Economics) The benefit that a chosen course of action affords, as subjectively judged by the chooser.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

The quality or state of being useful; utility; serviceableness; advantage.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Prepared to play any of the smaller theatrical roles on short notice
A utility cast member.
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Oct 19, 2023

Usefulness

The quality of being of practical use
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Capable of playing as a substitute in any of several positions
A utility infielder.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Designed for various often heavy-duty practical uses
A utility knife.
A utility vehicle.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Raised or kept for the production of a farm product rather than for show or as pets
Utility livestock.
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Utility

Of the lowest US Government grade
Utility beef.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

The state or condition of being useful; usefulness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Something that is useful.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(economics) The ability of a commodity to satisfy needs or wants; the satisfaction experienced by the consumer of that commodity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(philosophy) Well-being, satisfaction, pleasure, or happiness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

A natural or legal areal monopoly distributer of a commodity (less often a service) delivered in continuous flows to multiple consumers from a common physical, infrastructural network, such as an electric company or water company; or, the securities of such a provider.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(computing) A software program designed to perform a single task or a small range of tasks, often to help manage and tune computer hardware, an operating system or application software.
I've bought a new disk utility that can recover deleted files.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(sports) The ability to play multiple positions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Having to do with, or owned by, a service provider.
Utility line; utility bill
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(Of a building or its components) containing or intended for any of a building’s often-utility-related commodity transport, such as pipes or wires, or converting equipment, such as furnaces, water tanks or heaters, circuit breakers, central air conditioning units, laundry facilities, etc.
Utility room; utility corridor
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Functional rather than attractive.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

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.
The utility of the enterprises was, however, so great and obvious that all opposition proved useless.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Adaptation to satisfy the desires or wants; intrinsic value. See Note under Value, 2.
Value in use is utility, and nothing else, and in political economy should be called by that name and no other.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Happiness; the greatest good, or happiness, of the greatest number, - the foundation of utilitarianism.
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

A company that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

The quality of being of practical use
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

The service provided by a utility company;
The cost of utilities never decreases
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

(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
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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

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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Oct 19, 2023

Utility

Used of beef; usable but inferior
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Utility

Capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team;
A utility infielder
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Utility

The state of being useful, especially in satisfying human wants or needs.
The utility of solar energy is increasing in modern homes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Utility

Functionality or practicality in everyday life.
Smartphones have a high utility due to their multiple functions.
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Dec 25, 2023

Utility

Usefulness in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
The utility of electric cars is growing in the automotive industry.
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Dec 25, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is usefulness subjective?

Yes, the usefulness of something can vary based on individual needs and preferences.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

What does usefulness mean?

Usefulness refers to the degree to which something is helpful or beneficial.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

How do usefulness and utility differ?

Usefulness is a broader term for helpfulness, while utility often has a more specific, quantifiable context, especially in economics.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can utility be measured?

In economics, utility is often measured in terms of satisfaction or preferences.
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Dec 25, 2023

Does utility always refer to economic concepts?

Utility is frequently used in economics, but it can also refer to practicality and functionality in general.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can utility apply to services?

Yes, utility can refer to the benefits derived from both goods and services.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

How is usefulness assessed?

Usefulness is assessed based on how well something meets a need or provides a benefit.
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Dec 25, 2023

How do cultures affect perceptions of usefulness?

Cultural values and needs can greatly influence what is considered useful.
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Dec 25, 2023

Does utility have a role in decision-making?

In economics, utility plays a significant role in understanding and predicting decision-making.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

What is utility?

Utility is a measure of satisfaction or functionality, often used in economics.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

How does utility impact consumer behavior?

Utility influences consumer choices by determining the perceived satisfaction from goods and services.
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Dec 25, 2023

Is utility a fixed value?

Utility is not fixed; it can vary among individuals and over time.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Can something have utility but not usefulness?

Generally, if something has utility, it is also useful, but its usefulness might vary in degree or context.
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Dec 25, 2023

What is an example of utility in economics?

An example is the utility derived from purchasing and consuming a favorite food.
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Dec 25, 2023

Can utility be negative?

In some contexts, like when discussing externalities in economics, utility can be negative.
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Dec 25, 2023

Does utility factor into sustainability discussions?

Yes, discussions of sustainability often consider the utility of resources and practices in long-term viability.
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Dec 25, 2023

Can environmental factors influence usefulness?

Yes, environmental conditions can impact the usefulness of products and services.
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Dec 25, 2023

Is usefulness important in product design?

Yes, the usefulness of a product is crucial in its design and appeal to consumers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Is usefulness a qualitative or quantitative concept?

Usefulness is generally a qualitative concept, though it can be quantitatively assessed in certain contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

Do technology advancements affect usefulness?

Yes, advancements in technology can enhance or change the usefulness of various tools and products.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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