utilise

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See also: utilisé

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • utilize (American, Canadian, Oxford British spelling)

Etymology[edit]

From French utiliser, from Italian utilizzare, from utile (useful), from Latin ūtilis, from ūtī (use). Attested c. 1810.[1]

Verb[edit]

utilise (third-person singular simple present utilises, present participle utilising, simple past and past participle utilised) (British spelling)

  1. To make use of; to use.
    • 1959 March, “The 2,500 h.p. electric locomotives for the Kent Coast electrification”, in Trains Illustrated, page 125:
      The bodywork employs, where possible, the same constructional methods as for the standard B.R. coaching stock, in order to utilise existing jigs and press tools.
  2. To make useful; to find a practical use for.
  3. To make best use of; to use to its fullest extent, potential, or ability.
    • 1960 December, “The Glasgow Suburban Electrification is opened”, in Trains Illustrated, page 715:
      Since then we have had the opportunity to travel in them and were much impressed by the internal styling and comfort of the seating (with the minor exception of the single seats which have been tucked in longitudinally alongside some of the entrance vestibules and which are so cramped that only the slimmest of female figures could be comfortable in them; the space they occupy would have been better utilised to increase standing room).
  4. To make do with; to use in manner different from that originally intended[2]

Usage notes[edit]

Many style guides advise against the use of utilize and utilise, arguing that the simpler verb use is always preferable (and, analogously, that the noun use is preferable to utilization and utilisation).[3][4][5][6] When used simply as a synonym in ordinary writing (as in “please utilise the rear door when exiting the aircraft”) it can strike readers as pretentious, and authorities advise it should be used sparingly.[7]

However, utilise is suited to senses in which use would require circumlocution. Examples of such senses include: “put to use”, as in “... utilise the production capacities of the local industries fully before ordering from foreign industries”; “exploit or consume”, as in “... utilise the support that the system provides, such as by making the most of tax exemptions and special supplies”; or “make best use of” (profitable, practical use, not just general use), as in “... farmers must utilise their land fully to boost food security”. Further, in American usage, utilize can imply use outside an object’s intended purpose, as in “... our airmen utilized damaged drop tanks in the field, cutting them open for bathtubs”.[8][9]

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ utilise”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
  2. ^ T.A.R. Cheney, Getting the Words Right, Writer's Digest Books (1983).
  3. ^ Sir Ernest Gowers 1965 The Complete Plain Words Oxford: Oxford University Press
  4. ^ Eric Partridge 1973 Usage and Abusage: A Guide to Good English England: Penguin Books
  5. ^ John E. Kahn (ed) 1985 The Right Word at the Right Time London:Readers Digest
  6. ^ Pam Peters 1995 The Cambridge Australian English Style Guide Cambridge:Cambridge University Press
  7. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd edition (c) 2010 by Oxford University Press, Inc.
  8. ^ use”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
  9. ^ “utilise”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2000, →ISBN.

French[edit]

Verb[edit]

utilise

  1. inflection of utiliser:
    1. first/third-person singular present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person singular imperative