function

noun
func·​tion | \ ˈfəŋ(k)-shən \

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 \

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 \ 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

Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, and Should You See One?," 6 Feb. 2019 The bill would still allow abortions if a pregnancy endangers a woman’s life or one of her major bodily functions. Emily Wagster Pettus, The Seattle Times, "Mississippi considers abortion ban after fetal heartbeat," 6 Feb. 2019 Sometimes wrinkles correspond to acupuncture points on the face, which can be needled for their location and not necessarily for their function, DiLibero explains. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "What Exactly Is Facial Acupuncture — And Why You Should Try It," 6 Feb. 2019 With an emphasis on function and form, and a nostalgic quality, the homes have seen a resurgence since tapering out in the 1970s. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "This Prefab Company Will Build You The Midcentury Modern Home Of Your Dreams," 5 Feb. 2019 Metal, glass and bamboo present dangers for people who have difficulty controlling their motor functions — from stroke survivors to people who have cerebral palsy. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "A splash of cold water on straw-ban fervor: Many people with disabilities need them," 13 July 2018 The better known is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), said to benefit brain structure and function and found in infant formula, baby food and prenatal vitamins. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Remote Texas algae farm grows a food for the future," 27 June 2018 Its vibe—part Hogwarts, part Beauty and the Beast (post-curse) palace—is fully appreciated after a visit to the elaborate state apartments that are still used for state functions. Amy Tara Koch, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan a Family Trip to Ireland," 12 July 2018 Compared to mice who aged normally, those who started getting the dasatinib-quercitin cocktail at an age equivalent to 75 to 90 years in humans ended up living roughly 36% longer, and with better physical function. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "This drug cocktail reduced signs of age-related diseases and extended life in mice and human cells," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The skin’s response is to function, and that’s healthy. Jessica Yarbrough, SELF, "Are Facials Supposed to Make Things Worse Before They Get Better?," 17 Jan. 2019 The figure-fitting look, by Alexander Wang, featured a plunging keyhole neckline, floral detailing, and velvety drapery around the hips to function like a wrap skirt. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Wore a Sheer Lace Bodysuit by Alexander Wang to John Legend's Party," 14 Jan. 2019 That could become a nightmare—particularly for smaller biotechs that generally burn cash and need a predictable regulatory process to function properly. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Would Big Pharma Pay for the Wall?," 12 Jan. 2019 How to Cure a Hangover: A Drinker’s Guide to Surviving the Morning After Illustration by Alicia Tatone Your guide on how to cure a hangover and be able to function the morning after. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "How to Cure a Hangover: A Drinker’s Guide to Surviving the Morning After," 29 June 2018 Tyler Huntley, Zack Moss and Britain Covey are back to lead an attack that should function smoothly under new-old playcaller Andy Ludwig. Jon Wilner Pac-12 Hotline, The Seattle Times, "Way-too-early Pac-12 football predictions: Can Washington rule the North once again?," 23 Jan. 2019 That device needs to deliver smartphone notifications promptly, track fitness well enough for most people, and include basic features that function well on wrists, like timers and alarms. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Huawei Watch GT review: When hardware and software don’t mesh," 16 Dec. 2018 The conventional wisdom holds that social networks only function if as many people as possible are on them. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 Retired deputy police chief Brian Foley criticized the city for failing to ensure the cameras were functioning. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Teen Drowns In Hartford's Keney Park Pool After Camera That Officials Knew Was Broken Fails To Alert Police," 4 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

11 Feb 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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective
functioned; functioning\ -​sh(ə-​)niŋ \

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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excited commotion or publicity

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