func·​tion·​al | \ˈfəŋ(k)-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of functional 

1a : of, connected with, or being a function the functional differences between the departments

b : affecting physiological or psychological functions but not organic structure functional heart disease

2 : used to contribute to the development or maintenance of a larger whole functional and practical school courses also : designed or developed chiefly from the point of view of use The design of the building is not only functional but also beautiful.

3 : performing or able to perform a regular function The flashlight was still functional after I had dropped it.

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Other Words from functional

functionally \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shnə-​lē , -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Examples of functional in a Sentence

They worked outside, so they preferred wearing functional clothes. The building's design is not only functional but also beautiful. The flashlight was still functional after I dropped it. The computer network is fully functional.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The water-bottle pockets are truly functional, letting me withdraw and replace a bottle without having to remove the pack. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 The current bridge, a functional but bland concrete structure with narrow sidewalks, isn’t something people would want to walk or cycle on, city officials have said. Don Stacom, Courant Community, "The Path To A Downtown New Britain Revival? Beehive Bridge," 1 June 2018 Skip the heels: There are plenty of fashion-forward shoe options that are comfortable and functional. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "BottleRock 2018: Tips on how to rock Napa’s biggest music festival," 24 May 2018 The croquet trend turned into a tennis craze among elite men and women, who created a market for fashionable and functional sports shoes. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "A Brief History of America’s Obsession With Sneakers," 18 May 2018 Still, Finau was worried that the ankle might not be functional in time for his early afternoon tee slot. Tim Layden,, "A Day After Turning His Ankle, Tony Finau Is Miraculously Two Shots Back at the Masters," 5 Apr. 2018 More functional is Crosley’s Wall Phone ($70,, which can be mounted in a kitchen as a punchy visual statement—and a convenient way to chat while cooking while your smartphone is charging in the other room. Paul Schrodt, WSJ, "Why the Landline Phone Will Never Go Away," 5 July 2018 After about seven months, Vardakostas’ makeshift vegetable slicer was functional. Lauren Smiley, WIRED, "The Mission to Build the Ultimate Burger Bot," 21 June 2018 The Rebble team will alter those apps wherever possible, but some of them might not be functional immediately after the update. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Pebble smartwatches could be kept alive by an unofficial developer group called Rebble," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'functional.' 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 functional

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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The first known use of functional was in 1633

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English Language Learners Definition of functional

: designed to have a practical use

medical : affecting the way a part of your body works

: working properly


func·​tion·​al | \ˈfəŋ(k)-shnəl, -shən-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of functional 

1a : of, connected with, or being a function — compare structural sense 1

b : affecting physiological or psychological functions but not organic structure functional heart disease a functional psychosis — compare organic sense 1b

2 : performing or able to perform a regular function

Other Words from functional

functionally \ -​ē \ adverb

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Comments on functional

What made you want to look up functional? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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