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

Kelly Wearstler and Georg Jensen created a space where form and function exist as equals; where depth is achieved not only through the product itself, but through the ways in which that product interacts with its surroundings. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Kelly Wearstler Partners with Georg Jensen on a Sculptural New Collection," 28 Mar. 2019 In the 1970s, Congress limited such immunity when a foreign government functions like a private business—for instance, in the case of an airline such as Aeroflot, which was the Soviet Union’s flag carrier. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Supreme Court Rules Against Mysterious Foreign Company," 8 Jan. 2019 The study outlines other health consequences posed by exposure to air pollution, including inflammation and complications in the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious bodily functions like heartbeats and breathing. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "Air pollution increases risk for type 2 diabetes, study finds," 12 July 2018 Ryan has abdicated the oversight function entirely. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan Unaware Constitution Lets Congress Override Presidential Veto," 12 July 2018 His environmental activism is presented as a function of his art. Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "Review: ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda’ Shows a Composer Attuned to Nature," 5 July 2018 But there are also other lipids (fats and oils) produced by cells in the stratum corneum, the protective outer layer of skin that functions as the skin’s primary protection against losing water. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "What You Should Know Before Using a Trendy New Face Oil," 13 Mar. 2019 Shutterstock Located in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Saint Basil’s Cathedral originally contained 10 churches but now functions as a museum and national landmark. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 There are dozens of express consignment stores in the tristate area that function like a private UPS, only for parcels from Ecuador. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The next year-and-a-half was spent creating a home that was at once peaceful and energizing, and functioned as both sanctuary and chic gathering space. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "The Bold Patterns in This House Are Kaleidoscopic In the Best Way," 29 Mar. 2019 The healthier the diet, the healthier the microbiota, in other words, and the better the digestive system can function. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "What’s the Best Way to Cleanse? A Guide to Detoxing in 2019," 1 Jan. 2019 Although the ban hasn’t been implemented yet, leaving many popular VPNs still functioning in China, including ExpressVPN and NordVPN, a shadow looms over this last viable way to escape internet censorship. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "2018 was the year Chinese internet users evaded censorship — briefly," 20 Dec. 2018 Personals, while ostensibly functioning as a way to meet future partners, also works as a support network where people show up simply to encourage people's posts and trade flirts. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Could a Text-Based Dating App Change Selfie-Swiping Culture?," 10 July 2018 These changes mean that neurons that used to be healthy stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Korin Miller, SELF, "Are There Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Watch For?," 28 Nov. 2018 The problem is, this does not make Google carbon-neutral in a practical sense, because the company still needs polluting energy sources to keep functioning. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Five graphics from Google show how carbon-intensive its data centers really are," 11 Oct. 2018 So the app simply stopped functioning until MoviePass secured an emergency $6.2 million loan to restore service — including a $5 million cash payout. Aja Romano, Vox, "MoviePass briefly stopped working — because it ran out of money," 27 July 2018 Hartford Athletic would essentially function as a minor league team for the Revolution. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "Hartford Athletic, New England Revolution Moving Towards Direct Affiliation," 13 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

8 Apr 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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