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Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /ˈʌt.əɹ.əns/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From utter +‎ -ance[1]


utterance (plural utterances)

  1. An act of uttering.
  2. Something spoken.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] They talk of you as if you were Croesus—and I expect the beggars sponge on you unconscionably.” And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 237a.
      To know how one should express oneself in saying or judging that there really are falsehoods without getting caught up in contradiction by such an utterance: that's extremely difficult, Theaetetus.
  3. The ability to speak.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume III, Chapter 10:
      Mrs. Weston kissed her with tears of joy; and when she could find utterance, assured her, that this protestation had done her more good than any thing else in the world could do.
  4. Manner of speaking.
    • Bible, Acts ii. 4
      They [] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
    • John Keats
      O, how unlike / To that large utterance of the early gods!
    He has a good utterance.
  5. (obsolete) Sale by offering to the public.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  6. (obsolete) Putting in circulation.
    the utterance of false coin, or of forged notes
  • Mathematics and Poetry are... the utterance of the same power of imagination, only that in the one case it is addressed to the head, in the other, to the heart. — Thomas Hill
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French oultrance.


utterance (plural utterances)

  1. (now literary) The utmost extremity (of a fight etc.).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter liij, in Le Morte Darthur, book X:
      And soo they mette soo hard / that syre Palomydes felle to the erthe hors and alle / Thenne sir Bleoberis cryed a lowde and said thus / make the redy thou fals traytour knyghte Breuse saunce pyte / for wete thow certaynly I wille haue adoo with the to the vtteraunce for the noble knyghtes and ladyes that thou hast falsly bitraid


  1. ^ utterance in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Further reading[edit]