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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If Putin was looking for a pretext to cut off countries that have supported Ukraine, this could serve that function. CBS News, 27 Apr. 2022 Maybe the next Windows Snip and Sketch version will have this useful function. Tj Mccue, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Using this function, Calderón found that by the time DPS gave the news organizations the third dataset in January, more than 2,000 charges had been removed. Karim Doumar, ProPublica, 20 Apr. 2022 This biological function makes falling out of love about as hard as trying not to feel thirsty. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 So part of the challenge for Haskell is to activate other parts of his brain that can take over that function. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 Lipids seem to have found this function elsewhere in nature, too. Quanta Magazine, 5 Apr. 2022 But as glorious as fiber’s poop-promoting powers may be—and, make no mistake, that function is indeed essential—there’s actually a lot more to appreciate about the stuff, in its soluble and insoluble forms. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 31 Mar. 2022 Replacing that function would be the top priority for any effort to maintain the station without Russia. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Its ability to function as a space for thoughtful deliberations and its air of legitimacy both seem diminished. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 8 May 2022 To understand that wearing a mask is not infringing on your rights to do things, but not wearing a mask is actually infringing on other people’s ability to function within the community. San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 So far, Ukraine’s internet mostly works, its president still able to rally global support via a smartphone, and its power plants and other critical infrastructure still able to function. Alan Suderman And Frank Bajak, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Mar. 2022 That’s especially true for employers such as health care, which wouldn’t be able to function if employees were able to decide to work four days one week and five days the next. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Feb. 2022 Garoppolo was able to function without a notable dropoff in his performance. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Dec. 2021 Its predicament is a symptom of the crisis in Afghanistan’s health care system, which is on the brink of collapse and able to function only with a lifeline from aid organizations. Fox News, 17 Dec. 2021 Human beings are not able to function on all cylinders 24/7. Serenity Gibbons, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 Mayan fears that if the situation continues, the orphanage will not be able to function much longer. Reuters, ABC News, 15 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 20 May. 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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