1) a public or private entity that provides products or services. including communications. electricity. natural gas. transportation. and water. 2) the facilities associated with any particular utility. 3) an economic concept considered in the appraisal of monetary value; the ability to satisfy human desires. needs. and wants; the quality of usefulness.
Within economics the concept of utility is used to model worth or value, but its usage has evolved significantly over time. The term was introduced initially as a measure of pleasure or satisfaction within the theory of utilitarianism by moral philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. But the term has been adapted and reapplied within neoclassical economics, which dominates modern economic theory, as a utility function that represents a consumer's preference ordering over a choice set. As such, it is devoid of its original interpretation as a measurement of the pleasure or satisfaction obtained by the consumer from that choice.