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Complete vs. Utter: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on January 30, 2024
'Complete' refers to something fully finished or whole, while 'utter' is an intensifier emphasizing absoluteness or extremeness.

Key Differences

'Complete' describes a state where nothing is missing or left out, indicating totality or wholeness. 'Utter' is used to emphasize the total or absolute nature of something, often paired with adjectives.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024
In usage, 'complete' often pertains to the finished state of tasks, projects, or objects. 'Utter', however, is typically used to modify adjectives, such as 'utter joy' or 'utter despair', conveying an extreme degree.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024
The word 'complete' can be used in various contexts, from physical completeness to abstract, like completing a thought. 'Utter' adds intensity to a description, stressing an absolute state or condition.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024
'Complete' is often objective, describing a measurable or observable state. In contrast, 'utter' is more subjective, expressing the speaker's perception of intensity or extremity.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024
'Complete' can also imply finality, as in a process or development that has reached its end. 'Utter' does not suggest finality but rather an extreme degree of the quality it modifies.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Meaning

Fully finished or whole; nothing missing.
An intensifier for absoluteness or extremeness.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Usage

Describes the state of being finished or whole.
Modifies adjectives to express extremity.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Contexts

Varied, from physical completion to abstract.
Used with adjectives to emphasize intensity.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Subjectivity

Often objective and measurable.
Subjective, based on the speaker's perception.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Implication

Suggests finality or entirety.
Indicates an extreme degree of a quality.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024
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Complete and Utter Definitions

Complete

Finished; ended; concluded.
The project was complete ahead of schedule.
Sara Rehman
Dec 13, 2023

Utter

Absolute; total.
It was an utter disaster.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 13, 2023

Complete

Total; absolute.
Her victory was a complete surprise to everyone.
Janet White
Dec 13, 2023

Utter

Complete; unqualified.
The play was an utter success.
Janet White
Dec 13, 2023

Complete

Having all parts or elements; lacking nothing.
The puzzle is complete with every piece in place.
Sara Rehman
Dec 13, 2023

Utter

Emit (a sound) audibly.
The bird uttered a loud chirp.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 13, 2023

Complete

Whole; entire; full.
The book offers a complete guide to gardening.
Harlon Moss
Dec 13, 2023

Utter

To speak or say something.
He didn't utter a single word during the meeting.
Sara Rehman
Dec 13, 2023

Complete

To make whole or perfect.
She completed her degree last year.
Harlon Moss
Dec 13, 2023

Utter

Express audibly; articulate.
She uttered a sigh of relief.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 13, 2023

Complete

Having all necessary or normal parts, components, or steps; entire
A complete medical history.
A complete set of dishes.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Utter

To send forth with the voice
Uttered a cry.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

FAQs

Does 'complete' imply perfection?

Not necessarily perfection, but it implies nothing is missing.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'complete' be used as a verb?

Yes, 'complete' can be a verb meaning to finish making or doing.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'utter' always used as an intensifier?

Often, but it can also mean to express something in speech.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' stand alone as an adjective?

Usually, 'utter' is used before another adjective for emphasis.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Does 'complete' always mean finished?

Generally, yes, it indicates that something is fully done.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' modify nouns directly?

No, it typically modifies adjectives, not nouns.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Does 'utter' have a verb form?

Yes, 'utter' can be a verb meaning to express or articulate.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'utter' used in formal writing?

It can be, but it's more common in expressive or descriptive contexts.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' be used as a noun?

No, 'utter' is not commonly used as a noun.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'complete' used in academic settings?

Yes, 'complete' is often used in academic contexts.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'complete' subjective?

'Complete' is more objective, describing a discernible state.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Are there synonyms for 'complete' that imply incompleteness?

No, synonyms for 'complete' typically suggest fullness or entirety.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'complete' describe a process?

Yes, it can refer to the finishing of a process.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' intensify any adjective?

Almost any, particularly those expressing quality or degree.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' be used in legal contexts?

As a verb, yes, particularly regarding the utterance of statements.
Harlon Moss
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'utter' a common word in everyday speech?

Yes, especially in expressions of strong emotion or emphasis.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Does 'complete' have an opposite?

Yes, its opposite can be 'incomplete' or 'partial'.
Sara Rehman
Jan 30, 2024

Is 'complete' used in mathematics?

Yes, it's used to describe sets or systems that are whole.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Does 'complete' apply to physical objects only?

No, it can apply to abstract concepts like tasks or thoughts.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024

Can 'utter' express a positive extreme?

Yes, it can express both positive and negative extremes.
Janet White
Jan 30, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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