function

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

Essential Meaning of function

1 : the special purpose or activity for which a thing exists or is used 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. See More ExamplesWhat functions do these programs fulfill/perform/serve? 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.Hide
2 : the job or duty of a person His job combines the functions of a manager and a worker. Her chief/main/primary/principal function is to provide expert legal advice.
3 : a large ceremony or social event They went to several functions during their college reunion weekend. a social function

Full 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 function (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

Other Words from function

Noun

functionless \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce function (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 Plus gives the XPS 13 a flat keyboard bed, takes away the marked trackpad, and adds capacitive function keys. Christian De Looper, BGR, 7 Jan. 2022 Pence did not have that power under the law, as the vice president’s function is largely ceremonial. Mary Clare Jalonick And Farnoush Amiri, chicagotribune.com, 14 Dec. 2021 Pence did not have that power under the law, as the vice president’s function is largely ceremonial. Mary Clare Jalonick, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Dec. 2021 There's even an equalizer function for tailoring the soundtrack's volume and tone. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 23 Nov. 2021 There must be a useful function for the NFTs, or genuine value backing the NFT that communities universally agree upon. Nicole Serena Silver, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 An addition gave the couple (pictured here with Becky's nephew) the much-appreciated function of a powder room and mudroom, plus space for a roomy island and double oven (points for Ann, who loves to cook). Kelly Ryan Kegans, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Nov. 2021 While serviceable, many people have complained about the Touch Bar replacing physical function keys. Hunter Fenollol, Popular Mechanics, 20 Oct. 2021 Apple is ditching its digital Touch Bar, a divisive feature that replaced the row of function keys at the top of the keyboard with text prediction and shortcuts. Aditi Sangal, CNN, 18 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Other researchers are working on developing new CARs that can function like a biomolecular computer, able to make simple logical decisions to target cancer cells. Angus Chen, STAT, 19 Jan. 2022 The programs are more tethered to the news, however, than the equivalent hours on Fox, which function as outrageous opposition to the traditional news media. Brian Stelter, CNN, 10 Jan. 2022 Some have proteins that function as a kind of antifreeze. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, 8 Jan. 2022 The company is also releasing a new touchless faucet for residential bathrooms that can function with a wave of the hand and operate by battery. Musadiq Bidar, CBS News, 4 Jan. 2022 And lower circulating testosterone levels may affect your ability to initiate and maintain erects function too. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 12 Dec. 2021 Each fashions a single thread, a streamer, to function as an emergency airlift. Rebecca Giggs, The Atlantic, 9 Nov. 2021 Johnson and his government have long suggested that this is the kind of occasion where an unfettered United Kingdom (the European Union negotiates as a bloc in the talks) can function as an agile power broker on the world stage. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2021 Neither film would function at all without these somewhat underdeveloped side characters, who are of course not mothers themselves. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 7 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near function

Funchal

function

functionaire

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for function

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 function (audio) \ adjective

function

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

Medical Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on function

Nglish: Translation of function for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of function for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about function

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