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Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /ˈʌtəɹəns/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ut‧ter‧ance

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English utteraunce, outeraunce; equivalent to utter +‎ -ance.[1]


utterance (countable and uncountable, plural utterances)

  1. An act of uttering.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VIII”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      at length gave utterance to these words
    • July 1857, Thomas Hill, "The Imagination in Mathematics", in The North American Review
      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.
  2. Something spoken.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, “XXVA”, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC, page 203:
      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, translated by Lesley Brown, Sophist, page 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 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter X, in Emma: [], volume III, London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC, page 175:
      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. A manner of speaking.
    He has a good utterance.
  5. (obsolete) A sale made by offering to the public.
    • a. 1564, King Edward IV of England, a royal decree:
      The clothemakers [] had great profite and good utterance of the sayd cloth
  6. (obsolete) An act of putting in circulation.
    the utterance of false coin, or of forged notes
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English outraunce, utteraunce, from Old French outrance (see outrance).


utterance (plural utterances)

  1. (literary, archaic) The utmost extremity, especially of a fight; bodily harm or death.
    Synonym: outrance
    • 1603, Plutarch, “Of Brotherly Love”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Philosophie, Commonlie Called, The Morals [], London: [] Arnold Hatfield, →OCLC, page 184:
      Among champions and such as strive for the masterie in feats of activitie, we count those for their adversaries and concurrents onely, who professe and practise the same kinde of game or exercise; for those that goe to it with fists and buffers, are commonly friends good enough to such sword-fencers as fight at sharpe to the utterance, and well-willers to the champions called Pancratiastae.
    • c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
      Rather than so, come fate into the list,
      And champion me to th' utterance.
    • 1659, Thomas Pestell, “A Collection of several mens Discourses and Opinions concerning Duels”, in Sermons and devotions old and new, page 326:
      Besides, For the most part, the Combate was continued or ended at the discretion of the Prince, or his Substitutes, which also did most commonly part the Duellists, and not suffer them to proceed to the utterance, but pronounced them both good and approved Cavaliers upon the place, which was a token of their prudent affection to preserve noble spirits for better uses.


Further reading[edit]