1781, coined by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) from utility + -arian on the model of + unitarian, etc. One guided by the doctrine of the greatest happiness for the greatest number. From 1802 as an adjective; in the general sense "having regard to utility rather than beauty," from 1847.
[Bentham] had a phrase, expressive of the view he took of all moral speculations to which his method had not been applied, or (which he considered as the same thing) not founded on a recognition of utility as the moral standard ; this phrase was "vague generalities." Whatever presented itself to him in such a shape, he dismissed as unworthy of notice, or dwelt upon only to denounce as absurd. He did not heed, or rather the nature of his mind prevented it from occurring to him, that these generalities contained the whole unanalyzed experience of the human race. [John Stuart Mill, "The Works of Jeremy Bentham," London and Westminster Review, August 1838]
swing with a cross-bar, used for feats of strength and agility, 1861, from French trapèze, from Late Latin trapezium (see trapezium), probably because the crossbar, the ropes and the ceiling formed a trapezium.
The French, to whose powers of invention (so long as you do not insist upon utility) there is no limit, have invented for the world the Trapeze .... [Chambers's Journal, July 6, 1861]
"the first five books of the Bible," those traditionally ascribed to Moses, c. 1400, Penta-teuke, from Late Latin pentateuchus (Tertullian, c. 207), from Greek pentateukhos (c. 160), originally an adjective (abstracted from phrase pentateukhos biblos), from pente "five" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + teukhos "implement, vessel, gear" (in Late Greek "book," via notion of "case for scrolls"), literally "anything produced," related to teukhein "to make ready," from PIE *dheugh- "to produce something of utility" (see doughty). Glossed in Old English as fifbec. Related: Pentateuchal.
Old English mægen (Mercian megen) "power, bodily strength; force, violent effort; strength of mind or will; efficacy; supernatural power," from Proto-Germanic *maginam "power" (source also of Old High German megin "strength, power, ability"), suffixed form of PIE root *magh- "to be able, have power."
Original sense of "power" is preserved in phrase might and main. Also used in Middle English for "royal power or authority" (c. 1400), "military strength" (c. 1300), "application of force" (c. 1300). Meaning "chief or main part" (c. 1600) now is archaic or obsolete. Meaning "principal duct, pipe, or channel in a utility system" is first recorded 1727 in main drain.
Used since 1540s for "continuous stretch of land or water;" in nautical jargon used loosely for "the ocean," but in Spanish Main the word is short for mainland and refers to the coast between Panama and Orinoco (as contrasted to the islands of the West Indies).