June 20, 2011
- utter (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- : complete in extent or degree : total
- How do you use it?
- "He has completely forgotten Valerie Michon, and then there she is, standing at their table, looking at them, and saying in a voice of utter contempt, 'Morons.'" (Norma Fox Mazer, Out of Control)
- Are you a word wiz?
What do you think the root word of "utter" means?You knocked it out of the park if you chose A! "Utter" first came into English in the 15th century from the Middle English word "utter," which means "remote." That word came from the Old English word "utera," which means "outer," and that word in turn derives from Old English "ut," meaning "out." You get a little sense of this from the current uses of "utter": it most often is used to describe the utmost or absolute "outer edge" of something. When we say that something is "utter chaos," we mean that is it so chaotic that it's practically at the outer borders of chaos. By the way, "utmost" is another English word that traces to "ut," as is the verb "utter," meaning "to make a sound" or "to express in words."