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

The distraction issue Approaches like Samsung’s digital cockpit, seeking to replicate the functions of a smartphone, face a serious obstacle: safety concerns. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "The Coming Battle Over the Car Cockpit," 12 Nov. 2018 By injecting certain proteins (called transcription factors) involved in development directly into the brain, Götz and her team in Munich have figured out how to alter the function of astrocytes after an injury. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 The nurse is currently being kept alive by dialysis, which replaces the function of the kidneys, but the grueling treatment leaves her constantly exhausted and in pain. Fox News, "Garden sign seeking kidney donor yields 30 volunteers," 25 Sep. 2018 The royalties are derived from digital radio services like Pandora, SiriusXM and the non-interactive radio functions of Spotify, among others, which were paid to SoundExchange when his songs were streamed by those services. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Glassnote Files Complaint to Resolve Contract Dispute With Donald Glover Over $700K in Royalties," 10 July 2018 There is also a fear that novel sequences could be created that would mimic the functions of harmful pathogens, but that could evade current methods. Rebecca Spalding, Bloomberg.com, "The DNA Cops Who Make Sure the World’s Deadliest Viruses Aren’t Rebuilt," 27 June 2018 There is also a fear that novel sequences could be created that would mimic the functions of harmful pathogens, but that could evade current methods. Fortune, "These DNA Cops Make Sure Deadly Viruses Don't Get Rebuilt," 27 June 2018 Eliminating basic functions of NOAA is foolhardy, ignorant, shortsighted, and very stupid. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "Ocean science agency chief suggests removing 'climate' from mission statement," 25 June 2018 Alford structures the book by examining different functions of dance, as related, for example, to rebellion, to emotion, to nostalgia, to healing. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "'And Then We Danced,' 'Old in Art School,' tell of later-in-life creative endeavors," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

New Jersey lawmakers years ago enacted a religious exemption: If the family’s faith dictates that a patient is alive so long as the cardiovascular system is functioning, then a physician cannot declare the person dead based on brain death alone. Michael Boren, Philly.com, "Boy whose family fought to keep him on life support at CHOP dies," 16 June 2018 But the emergency management director job cannot function just with trust, Fugate added. Elizabeth Koh, miamiherald, "How does an inexperienced 30-year-old become hurricane chief? Win Rick Scott's trust. | Miami Herald," 25 May 2018 But by the 1960s, the farm had sold off most of the acreage and wasn't functioning as a farming operation anymore. Jess Cohen, Post-Tribune, "Knox County looks to save poor farm site dating to 1880s," 18 May 2018 Formalwear is built for fashion, not function—except in this case. Mikelle Street, GQ, "Luka Sabbat's Met Gala 2018 Outfit Is the Fanciest Bathrobe You'll Ever See," 7 May 2018 San Jose Police said the crossing arms at the railroad crossing were functioning, but the driver of the vehicle tried to drive around them when he was hit by the train. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "2 dead after California train, car crash that was caught on camera," 10 July 2018 How is their economy even functioning with half the workforce permanently laid off? Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 3 Recap – 9 Heavy Moments From 'Baggage'," 2 May 2018 Somehow that fake money had to be made real so that various government entities, like the military, would actually have the capital to function without bringing down the economy, and that’s where Jewish wealth came to play. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "A 1938 Nazi Law Forced Jews to Register Their Wealth—Making It Easier to Steal," 26 Apr. 2018 Settlement Talks Hit Snag Some McKesson investors sued in Delaware arguing that the company was harmed by the directors’ failure to insure that the company’s shipment-reporting systems were functioning effectively. Anders Melin, Bloomberg.com, "McKesson's Board Clears Itself of Fault on Opioid Oversight," 23 Apr. 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

Latin function-, functio performance, from fungi to perform; probably akin to Sanskrit bhuṅkte he enjoys

Verb

see function entry 1

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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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