In economics, the level of satisfaction a person derives from a good or service. Utility is inherently subjective and thus difficult to measure, but it is important to determining how much supply of a product the market can handle without diminishing demand. Historically, it has been thought that one can quantify the utility of each unit, but some economists disagree with this. See also: Austrian school, Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.
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total utilitythe total satisfaction (UTILITY) an individual derives from the CONSUMPTION of a given quantity of a product in a particular time period. An individual's total utility usually increases as he or she consumes more and more of a product, but generally at a slower rate, each extra unit consumed adding less MARGINAL UTILITY than the previous unit as the individual becomes satiated with the product. See UTILITY FUNCTION, CARDINAL UTILITY, ORDINAL UTILITY, DIMINISHING MARGINAL UTILITY.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005