Sooner or later, you want to leverage Zend_Application better by creating your own resource plugins.

Can leverage above be replaced by utilize?

  • 3
    As @Marcin says, both words are bad choices here. Rather than leverage/utilize/employ/use Zend_Application better, I'd just enhance it. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 22:35

4 Answers 4


Leverage means to use something in such a way that a small amount has a big result, much as a lever lets you move a larger load than you would normally be able to. In terms of the statement, Zend can be made more effective with plug ins. That is to say, the plug in means that your web app gets extra functionality from Zend+plug ins than it would from Zend alone.

It is frequently used in finance to mean that a small amount of money (like a house downpayment) can be used to much greater financial effect, such as buying a house.

Utilize means something completely different. Utilize is often used to mean "use" but it does have a subtly different meaning, specifically, utilize means use effectively. So you can load the Zend framework, but still write all your own code in javascript. But if you utilize it, you use the Zend functions effectively to get the results you want.

Utilize is certainly an widely abused word, but that doesn't mean it can't be used correctly, or should I say utilized correctly.

According to dictionary.com (my emphasis):

to put to use; turn to *profitable* account: to utilize a stream to power a mill. 

You can make the replacement, but it would change the meaning.

  • The difference between utilise and use has been covered here Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 22:38

Yes, but mostly because both are terrible word choices.

Leverage as a verb is either (a) an unnecessary neologism meaning 'to use'; (b) a term for investing with borrowed money, or any economically equivalent act.

'Utilize' is simply an ugly variant of 'use'.

Your choices are between 'use', and 'employ'. I suggest that 'employ' would be better, but in any case the whole sentence is awful ('Sooner or later' + present perfect, 'use/leverage/utilize sth better'). Something better might be 'Eventuallly, you will want to better employ Zend Application, by creating your own resource plugins'.

  • 4
    +1 Both leverage and utilise is horrible jargon that should be replaced with plain English. I often stop reading text using leverage.
    – Hugo
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 10:31
  • 2
    +1. I think make better use of might be OP's best option here.
    – user13141
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 11:36
  • 1
    I'd add a third definition of leverage, which is essentially definition (b) used as a metaphor: to turn a small advantage or opportunity into a large one. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 13:21

Leverage is an unnecessary verb introduced to make statements sound more technical than they are. Some options to consider are enhance, use, exploit, utilize and employ. Leverage is a perfectly valid noun. I try to avoid the use of words like this in scientific texts as, when the message is correct, they detract from the impact that is better conveyed with simple words.


Please replace "leverage" with other words that mean what you're asking your users to do with Zend_Application, and how they will benefit from creating their own resource plugins.

Many many good English speakers feel very strongly about not using "leverage" as a verb. I'm not going to repeat what each of these articles say, but you can guess from the titles. (I actually have a whole favourites folder in my browser just for these):

Are you stupid enough to use leverage as a verb?

Leverage is not a verb

5 bull$h!+ words that make me want to hurt you (obviously "leverage" is #1)

An article circulated on Linguistics Association of Great Britain contact list

Ban the word leverage (as a verb obviously)

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