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Alternative forms[edit]


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

Etymology 1[edit]

From utter +‎ -ance.[1]


utterance (countable and uncountable, plural utterances)

  1. An act of uttering.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 8”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      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 4293071, 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, 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 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter X, in Emma: [], volume III, London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, OCLC 1708336, 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  6. (obsolete) An act of putting in circulation.
    the utterance of false coin, or of forged notes
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, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

Further reading[edit]