Linguists refer to utterances when they don't want to get bogged down into arguments about whether they're talking about a sentence, a phrase, a word, or something else. When you're learning an unfamiliar language, you might not know the structure of something you just heard something say, so rather than inaccurately calling it a "word" or a "sentence", you just refer to it as an utterance. Later, you can figure out how many distinct words are in that utterance. For now, you're busy taking note of what you heard, in what context, and what meaning it might represent.

Ut"ter*ance (?), n.

1.

The act of uttering.

Specifically: --

(a)

Sale by offering to the public.

[Obs.]

Bacon.

(b)

Putting in circulation; as, the utterance of false coin, or of forged notes.

(c)

Vocal expression; articulation; speech.

At length gave utterance to these words. Milton.

2.

Power or style of speaking; as, a good utterance.

They . . . began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts ii. 4.

O, how unlike To that large utterance of the early gods! Keats.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ut"ter*ance, n. [F. outrance. See Outrance.]

The last extremity; the end; death; outrance.

[Obs.]

Annibal forced those captives whom he had taken of our men to skirmish one against another to the utterance. Holland.

 

© Webster 1913.

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