function

noun
func·​tion | \ ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce function (audio) \

Definition of function

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : professional or official position : occupation His job combines the functions of a manager and a worker.
2 : the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists : purpose
3 : any of a group of related actions contributing to a larger action especially : the normal and specific contribution of a bodily part to the economy of a living organism The function of the heart is to pump blood through the body.
4 : an official or formal ceremony or social gathering They went to several functions during their college reunion weekend.
5a : a mathematical correspondence that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set
b : a variable (such as a quality, trait, or measurement) that depends on and varies with another height is a function of age also : result illnesses that are a function of stress
6 : characteristic behavior of a chemical compound due to a particular reactive unit also : functional group
7 : a computer subroutine specifically : one that performs a calculation with variables (see variable entry 2 sense 1a) provided by a program and supplies the program with a single result

function

verb
functioned; functioning\ ˈfəŋ(k)-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce functioning (audio) \

Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to have a function : serve an attributive noun functions as an adjective
2 : to carry on a function or be in action : operate

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Other Words from function

Noun

functionless \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce functionless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for function

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for function

Noun

function, office, duty, province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing. function implies a definite end or purpose or a particular kind of work. the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information — Aldous Huxley office is typically applied to the function or service associated with a trade or profession or a special relationship to others. they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor — W. E. Gladstone duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling. it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case — R. B. Taney province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one. I felt it was not my province to inquire — Anne Brontë

Examples of function in a Sentence

Noun The function of the heart is to pump blood through the body. He believes that the true function of art is to tell the truth. What functions do these programs fulfill? infants learning to control their bodily functions The instrument is chiefly used to measure and record heart function. The design achieves a perfect blend of form and function. His job combines the functions of a manager and a worker. Her chief function is to provide expert legal advice. They went to several functions during their college reunion weekend. Verb The new machine functions well. His bad health has prevented him from being able to function effectively in recent weeks. Her heart now seems to be functioning normally. The computer network is not yet fully functioning.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Diana knows that ultimately the love people have for her is a function of their deep seated dislike of the monarchy—its coldness, rigidity, and hierarchy. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Waiting For Diana," 13 Nov. 2020 While those records are partly a function of the state’s large population, major outbreaks have emerged this fall in cities like El Paso and Amarillo, as well as on several university campuses. Amy Harmon, New York Times, "What Places Are Hardest Hit by the Coronavirus? It Depends on the Measure," 12 Nov. 2020 Dave Slover, owner of Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, said his company was in the right space at the right time which was a function of luck as much as business acumen. oregonlive, "Fitness, outdoor companies thrive in the pandemic, but will their sudden success endure?," 10 Nov. 2020 Kelly said Thompson-Robinson’s 40 passes were mostly a function of the Bruins trailing big in the first half after turning over the ball four times. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Run, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, run? It might be key to UCLA’s offense," 8 Nov. 2020 But this wasn't just a function of the fallacy of composition, where one loony activist says something off the wall and the GOP amplifies it far beyond reason in order to tar the opposition unfairly. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "The left just got crushed," 4 Nov. 2020 This equation says that there is some function of x. Rhett Allain, Wired, "Formulas or Code? It’s All Numbers When It Comes to Physics," 2 Nov. 2020 Maybe this is a function of the candidates themselves — or rather candidate, singular. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Early voting surge: A sign of enthusiasm or exhaustion?," 1 Nov. 2020 These disparities are not likely a function of differences in biology, Brawley said, but rather are most likely driven by factors such as obesity and poverty. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Colon cancer screening should start at 45, panel recommends," 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The First Class Mind is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time and still function. CBS News, "National security analyst Graham Allison on second "mutually assured destruction"— a U.S.-China climate conflict," 11 Nov. 2020 This Vivo converter was quite similar in both build and function to the Flexispot converter. Emmy Favilla, CNN Underscored, "The best standing desks of 2020," 6 Nov. 2020 This year's election, however, may yet cause lasting damage to that message, and with it Washington's credibility when telling others how democracy should function. James Griffiths, CNN, "Trump's baseless claims of election fraud undermine US credibility overseas," 5 Nov. 2020 That means that losing GPS, especially for short periods, is not necessarily dangerous, and pilots can function without it. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "Planes continue to fly into a GPS dark hole over the Mediterranean, puzzling experts," 1 Nov. 2020 Twitter was meant to function like group texts among co-workers but only seemed to find its purpose when the techno-elite of SXSW used it to enhance communication across an already technologically dense network. Joan Donovan, Scientific American, "Trolling for Truth on Social Media," 12 Oct. 2020 Physicians also knew that, for intubated patients, placing them on their bellies instead of their backs would help their lungs function better. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "Connecticut doctors are rapidly changing tactics in their battle against COVID-19. But are they saving more lives?," 1 Oct. 2020 In other words, the ODR platform is meant to function something like an eviction diversion program. Michael Waters, Wired, "To Stop the Eviction Tsunami, We Need Online Chats," 28 Aug. 2020 The section of the eruv made of utility poles and streetlights is actually meant to function less like a wall and more like a series of doors, Dinin explained. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A new eruv that is going up in the North Shore will allow Orthodox Jews to work around religious laws," 18 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'function.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of function

Noun

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for function

Noun and Verb

Latin function-, functio performance, from fungi to perform; probably akin to Sanskrit bhuṅkte he enjoys

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Time Traveler for function

Time Traveler

The first known use of function was in 1533

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for function

function

noun
How to pronounce function (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of function

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the special purpose or activity for which a thing exists or is used
: the job or duty of a person
: a large ceremony or social event

function

verb

English Language Learners Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work or operate
: to have a specified function, role, or purpose

function

noun
func·​tion | \ ˈfəŋk-shən How to pronounce function (audio) \

Kids Definition of function

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action for which a person or thing is designed or used : purpose What function does this tool serve?
2 : a large important ceremony or social affair
3 : a mathematical relationship that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set

function

verb
functioned; functioning

Kids Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

: to serve a certain purpose : work The new machine functions well. The couch can also function as a bed.

function

noun
func·​tion | \ ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce function (audio) \

Medical Definition of function

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of a group of related actions contributing to a larger action especially : the normal and specific contribution of a bodily part to the economy of a living organism — see vital function

Other Words from function

functionless \ -​ləs How to pronounce functionless (audio) \ adjective
functioned; functioning\ -​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce functioning (audio) \

Medical Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a function shivering functions to maintain the heat of the body

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