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 Plans call for the specialists to take over much of the report writing, assessment functions and court appearances currently handled by officers. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Alabama Bureau of Pardon and Paroles wants to hire 138 new officers," 21 Feb. 2020 Challenging the ideas of function and form, art and utility, Stout’s latest collection includes both abstract sculptures and functional furniture, and is often a combination of the two. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Katie Stout Fuses Furniture, Art, and Absurdity With ‘Sour Tasting Liquid’ at Nina Johnson in Miami," 20 Feb. 2020 The president’s budget proposal says this would reduce duplication of function and regulatory ambiguity. Arthur Levitt, WSJ, "Without an Independent Watchdog, Who Will Audit the Auditors?," 19 Feb. 2020 Among those same participants, adhering to the Mediterranean diet was also associated with better cognitive function and memory. Erin Schumaker, ABC News, "Mediterranean diet may offer special health benefits for this age group," 18 Feb. 2020 As a new year and a new decade start, there are some trends in kitchen renovations that will add value, function, and timeless beauty to the heart and soul of your home. John Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "GHBA Remodelers Council: Kitchen design can endure longer than the decade," 15 Feb. 2020 Plus, there’s a really soothing heat function (and an auto-shutoff feature for safety). Anna Borges, SELF, "This $38 Neck and Shoulder Massager Makes Me Feel Like a Self-Care Boss," 5 Feb. 2020 This includes consolidating some job functions and locations and also automating some processes so our technicians can best serve our customers. Chase Difeliciantonio, SFChronicle.com, "Comcast to lay off more than 100 workers in Livermore," 3 Feb. 2020 This knob also controls gain level, mute function, and headphone volume. Popular Science, "USB microphones for easy, high-quality audio recording," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These songs showcase the sounds that function much like human syllables. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Jackass Penguin Calls Follow Similar Rules to Human Speech," 7 Feb. 2020 Sometimes physicians also prescribe very low doses of active medications that function as placebos. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "A Placebo for Pain Relief—Even When You Know It’s Not Real," 20 Jan. 2020 Strictly speaking, unions are groups of united workers, not parents, but NPU's organizers envision a national network of local groups that will function in the same manner as traditional unions. Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, "Former top labor official boosts parents group as counterweight to teachers unions," 10 Jan. 2020 For the flashback sequence in Dark Fate, the team did digital head replacement on younger actors who functioned as body doubles and were filmed on set. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Dark Fate's' Visual Effects Team Brought 'Terminator' Stars Back to the '90s," 1 Jan. 2020 Gerrymandering is so exacting and effective that state lawmakers, who often function as the map drawers, can hand one party control of Congress for a decade. Jane C. Timm, NBC News, "Gerrymandering is alive and well. The coming battle will be bigger than ever.," 28 Dec. 2019 In a survey of the gender breakdown among showrunners — that is, the people, usually writers, who function as CEOs of individual programs — only 20% of showrunners were women. Bill Carter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Women are finally getting the chance to shine in Hollywood. But it's still a battle," 23 Dec. 2019 Technology’s defenders claim that the traditional tools of macroeconomics can’t possibly capture the magic of a smartphone—a single device that can function as a camera, a gaming console, a portal to the web, and, yes, a telephone. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "The Real Trouble With Silicon Valley," 17 Dec. 2019 Hey those things don’t function at all,’ that was a surprise. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings legend Fred Cox dies at 80: ‘Nobody’s going to live more than I did,’ he had said," 1 Jan. 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

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 25 Feb. 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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Comments on function

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