Utter vs Mutter - What's the difference?

utter | mutter |

As verbs the difference between utter and mutter

is that utter is to say while mutter is to utter words, especially complaints or angry expressions, indistinctly or with a low voice and lips partly closed; to say under one's breath.

As a adjective utter

is .

As a adverb utter

is (obsolete) further out; further away, outside.

As a noun mutter is

a repressed or obscure utterance; an instance of muttering.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) ; compare (outer).


  • * Chapman
  • By him a shirt and utter mantle laid.
  • * Spenser
  • As doth an hidden moth / The inner garment fret, not th' utter touch.
  • * Milton
  • Through utter and through middle darkness borne.
  • (obsolete) Outward.
  • * 1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , Matthew XXIII:
  • Wo be to you scrybes and pharises ypocrites, for ye make clene the utter side off the cuppe, and off the platter: but within they are full of brybery and excesse.
  • * 1596 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , IV.10:
  • So forth without impediment I past, / Till to the Bridges utter gate I came .
  • Absolute, unconditional, total, complete.
  • utter''' ruin; '''utter darkness
  • * Atterbury
  • They are utter strangers to all those anxious thoughts which disquiet mankind.
  • :* {{quote-book
  • , year=1920 , year_published=2008 , edition=HTML , editor= , author=Edgar Rice Burroughs , title=Thuvia, Maiden of Mars , chapter= citation , genre= , publisher=The Gutenberg Project , isbn= , page= , passage=His eyes could not penetrate the darkness even to the distinguishing of his hand before his face, while the banths, he knew, could see quite well, though absence of light were utter . }}
    * see also
    Derived terms
    * utterly * utterness * uttermost

    Etymology 2

    Partly from (out) (adverb/verb), partly from (etyl) uteren.


    (en verb)
  • To say
  • Don't you utter another word!
  • To use the voice
  • Sally uttered a sigh of relief.
    The dog uttered a growling bark.
  • To make speech sounds which may or may not have an actual language involved
  • Sally is uttering some fairly strange things in her illness.
  • *
  • To make (a noise)
  • Sally's car uttered a hideous shriek when she applied the brakes.
  • (legal) To put counterfeit money, etc. , into circulation
  • Derived terms
    * utterance * utterer * utterless * utterable

    Etymology 3

    (etyl) .


    (en adverb)
  • (label) Further out; further away, outside.
  • *, Bk.VII, Ch.v:
  • *:So whan he com nyghe to hir, she bade hym ryde uttir —β€˜for thou smellyst all of the kychyn.’
  • ----




    (en noun)
  • A repressed or obscure utterance; an instance of muttering.
  • The prisoners were docile, and accepted their lot with barely a mutter .
  • (in Indian restaurants) peas
  • Derived terms

    * mutter paneer


    (en verb)
  • To utter words, especially complaints or angry expressions, indistinctly or with a low voice and lips partly closed; to say under one's breath.
  • You could hear the students mutter as they were served sodden spaghetti, yet again, in the cafeteria.
    The beggar muttered words of thanks, as passersby dropped coins in his cup.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2012 , date=June 28 , author=Jamie Jackson , title=Wimbledon 2012: Lukas Rosol shocked by miracle win over Rafael Nadal , work=the Guardian citation , page= , passage=This set – the set of Rosol's life – was studded with aces and menacing ground-strokes that left Nadal an impotent spectator often muttering to himself and at the umpire regarding a perceived misdemeanour by his opponent.}}
  • To speak softly and incoherently, or with imperfect articulations.
  • The asylum inmate muttered some doggerel about chains and pains to himself, over and over.
  • * Dryden
  • Meantime your filthy foreigner will stare, / And mutter to himself.
  • To make a sound with a low, rumbling noise.
  • April could hear the delivery van's engine muttering in the driveway.
  • * Alexander Pope
  • Thick lightnings flash, the muttering thunder rolls.


    * (sense, speak under one's breath) growl, grumble, mumble * (speak incoherently) babble, mumble, murmur, ramble, stutter * (make a low sound) growl, putter, rumble * See also