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

Synonyms for function

Synonyms: Noun

affair, bash, binge, blast, blowout, do, event, fete (or fête), get-together, party, powwow, reception, shindig

Synonyms: Verb

act, perform, serve, work

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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

In one study, people 60 and over showed improvement in cognitive functions after just four months of piano lessons. Nicole Saporita, Good Housekeeping, "The Science of How Your Body Ages," 29 May 2019 Being pregnant can loosen up the muscles and connective tissues such as ligaments that need to work well for good pelvic floor function. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "What to Know About Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Your Pelvic Floor," 10 May 2019 But making the current standoff even more absurd is the fact that Congress actually has approved new spending, in prior legislation, for much of the government’s functions. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 However, Level 2 vehicles require the driver to maintain focus and pay attention at all times, operate other vehicle functions, assist in mitigating any dangerous situations, and be ready to take control in the event of an emergency. Anthony Alaniz, Popular Mechanics, "When Are Self-Driving Cars Actually Coming?," 25 Apr. 2019 Beyond vetting purposes, Kaitlin informed me, cohabiting has other functions. Karley Sciortino, Vogue, "Breathless: Is Living Together Worth the Risk?," 26 Mar. 2019 Vodafone said Tuesday the vulnerability concerned a function widely used by telecom-equipment manufacturers to conduct tests. Parmy Olson, WSJ, "Vodafone Found Vulnerabilities in Huawei Equipment," 30 Apr. 2019 The images are supplemented by a 360-degree video function that helps buyers better envision each piece in a space. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "See Inside Ben Soleimani’s Fast-Paced, Stylish Worlds in California and London," 17 Apr. 2019 The success of Tesla is, by far, the biggest forcing function for the other car makers to get into — 100 percent. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Recode Decode," 2 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But for almost 250 years, our justice system has functioned pretty well, in fact, better than any other country in the world. Fox News, "Ann Coulter on left's meltdown over Kavanaugh allegation; will Carter Page finally learn why the FBI spied on him?," 19 Sep. 2018 In its place? Holographic screens that function like a touchscreen, but hover in the air instead of appearing as a control pad. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "What the Road Trip Looks Like in 2030," 20 July 2018 Mountbatten-Windsor has functioned as the royal family's surname since 1960 when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip combined their family names. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Real Reason Behind the Royal Baby's Name and Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Picked It," 8 May 2019 Both services, owned by Facebook Inc., and others functioned poorly or ceased to work altogether in the hours after the attacks Sunday, according to users. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media Amid Bomb Attacks," 21 Apr. 2019 The original Core X functioned purely as an external GPU cabinet with no downstream connectivity. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Razer's Core X Chroma eGPU cabinet features RGB and Intel's latest Thunderbolt 3 controller," 16 Apr. 2019 For some people, benzoyl peroxide and retinoids also function as treatments for both rosacea and acne. A.a. Newton, SELF, "How to Tell if Your 'Acne' Might Actually Be Rosacea," 9 Apr. 2019 Now here’s the important part: oils can function as an occlusive and as an emollient, but never as a humectant. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Everything You Need to Know About Putting Oils on Your Face," 12 July 2018 If the soil is compacted, roots may not function well. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Brown leaves in summer probably signal scorched plants," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for function

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for function

The first known use of function was in 1533

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More Definitions for function

function

noun

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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