utility

  

Definitions (5)

1. Business: Large firm that owns and/or operates facilities used for generation and transmission or distribution of electricity, gas, or water to general public.
2. Computing: Auxiliary program that performs a specific useful function to maintain, or augment the efficiency of, a computer system. Utilities range from the small and simple to the large and complex, and from being marginally useful to being indispensable. Functions performed by utilities include data compression, data recovery, disk defragmentation, management of computer resources and files, system diagnosis, virus detection, and numerous other. Also called utility program.
3. Economics: Pleasure or satisfaction (value for money) derived by a person from the consumption of a good or service or from being in a particular place, and for the maximization of which all economic actions are motivated. It is the subjective or psychic return which cannot be measured in absolute or objective terms. Goods or services that have utility for one person may not have for another, and what may have utility for a person at a certain time or place may not have it at another. See also utility theory.
4. Ethics: As described by the English philosopher-reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), what appears to "augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question."
5. Patent law: Usefulness of the item for which a patent is applied. An invention must be capable of use and must perform some useful function for to be considered patentable.

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