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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from function

Noun

functionless \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce function (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for function

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the steep annual percentage rates lenders charge are, in part, a function of high default rates among borrowers. Marc Joffe, National Review, "Progressive ‘Postal Banking’ Proposal: A Solution in Search of a Problem," 6 May 2021 The potential for the bill to set off a sprawling constitutional battle is largely a function of its ambitions. New York Times, "Constitutional Challenges Loom Over Proposed Voting Bill," 5 May 2021 Anyone who understands how the corporate ecosystem works understands that influence is often a function of visibility. Dana Brownlee, Forbes, "Hybrid Teams Sound Great, But Beware Of These 4 Dangerous Communications Pitfalls," 5 May 2021 India announced 323,144 new infections over the last 24 hours, a 10 percent drop from the day before, but experts warned this may be more a function of in a fall in testing than a sign the new wave is abating. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates Situation in India ‘beyond heartbreaking,’ says WHO chief," 27 Apr. 2021 But the higher number of younger patients reporting to hospitals could simply be a function of a higher number of overall cases this year. Vijayta Lalwani, Quartz, "Is India’s second Covid-19 wave impacting more youth and kids than the first?," 15 Apr. 2021 Its fury is in part a function of algorithms and architecture. Catherine Mayer, CNN, "Public sympathy is with the Queen. But the British monarchy may need more than that to survive," 14 Apr. 2021 This is partly a function of the commentators assembled. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, "Ken Burns’ new Hemingway documentary doesn’t give you a reason to read Hemingway," 5 Apr. 2021 Because providing and maintaining public infrastructure is a core function of modern state government. Star Tribune, "The politics of obstruction, Minnesota-style," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Echo or Ring device is in range, your security light could still function by routing its tiny bits of traffic through that other connection. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Amazon and Apple Built Vast Wireless Networks Using Your Devices. Here’s How They Work.," 7 May 2021 Different people function well under different circumstances. Katherine Isbister, The Conversation, "Popping toys, the latest fidget craze, might reduce stress for adults and children alike," 7 May 2021 Negotiations would essentially function unchanged except for one major difference. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "Proposition B losing by a narrow margin after early, absentee votes counted in San Antonio," 1 May 2021 Outside of emergencies — and American politics cannot function only during financial crises and pandemics — the set of ideas that both parties can agree on is far smaller and blander than the range of ideas that one party or the other likes. Ezra Klein New York Times, Star Tribune, "The case against bipartisanship," 29 Apr. 2021 For one-of-a-kind pieces that are bound to turn heads (or function as wearable art), look no further than Olivia Cheng’s Dauphinette. Dale Arden Chong, Glamour, "35 AAPI and Asian-Owned Brands to Support Now and Always," 16 Apr. 2021 The US Debit Card Program that was used to issue EIPs could function similarly. Elaine Maag, Forbes, "Delivering Tax Benefits To People Who Are Experiencing Homelessness," 15 Apr. 2021 Typically police unions function like first-responders in such killings. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Once Again, Police Rally Around Their Death-Dealing Power," 14 Apr. 2021 Nowadays, some models function as both a ground tarp and quilt, while others are light enough to take backpacking. The Editors, Outside Online, "Upgrade Mom’s Hiking Kit with These Gear Accessories," 12 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about function

Time Traveler for function

Time Traveler

The first known use of function was in 1533

See more words from the same year

Statistics for function

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 function (audio) \ adjective
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

Comments on function

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!