Definition of utilize in US English:


(British utilise)


[with object]
  • Make practical and effective use of.

    ‘vitamin C helps your body utilize the iron present in your diet’
    • ‘I just want to thank him for utilizing his position in the public eye to say what needs to be said.’
    • ‘Yet, despite the minister's assurance, the railway as solution to the public transportation problem could only be effective if the travelling public utilises the train.’
    • ‘Consulting psychiatrists were utilized in conjunction with the in-home treatment.’
    • ‘Until that vision becomes a reality the club must squeeze out as much as they can from utilising the present facilities.’
    • ‘How can mass media be effectively utilized to propagate and promote a culture of peace?’
    • ‘Fluorescence has been utilized for many purposes, the most obvious being fluorescent lamps.’
    • ‘The courts and the commissions could then utilize all this information to make their decisions.’
    • ‘The firm will utilise the rail network more effectively between Reading and London Paddington.’
    • ‘We're utilizing the helicopters in some of the rough areas to get into those deep, steep canyons.’
    • ‘So how can we make sure the nutrients we take in are being utilized to the greatest efficiency?’
    • ‘Since we are more effectively utilizing our manpower, we can then optimally man our units.’
    • ‘After the war he utilised this fiction to present himself as politically guiltless.’
    • ‘Greenpeace argues that alternative energy sources such as wind power should be utilised more effectively.’
    • ‘The aim of judo is to utilize physical and mental strength most effectively.’
    • ‘If you want to be taken seriously, get an education and get a job that utilizes your brain and not your body.’
    • ‘So let's make the best of it and utilize the present time to the fullest - go for gold!’
    • ‘The Allies had to mobilise and utilise their large resources effectively on the battlefield and in the air.’
    • ‘A health status questionnaire was utilized to determine eligibility for participation in the study.’
    • ‘The government is not utilizing its resources in terms of what the country needs at this particular point in time.’
    • ‘It also wants to see the slipway at Westport Quay being better utilised than at present.’
    make use of, put to use, use, employ, avail oneself of, have recourse to, resort to, look to, bring into service, press into service, take advantage of, exploit, milk, tap, turn to account, bring into play, bring into effective action, deploy
    View synonyms


Utilize, borrowed in the 19th century from the French utiliser, means ‘make practical or effective use of.’ Because it is a more formal word than use and is often used in contexts (as in business writing) where the ordinary verb use would be simpler and more direct, utilize may strike readers as pretentious jargon and should therefore be used sparingly


Early 19th century: from French utiliser, from Italian utilizzare, from utile (see utile).