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

As gadgets become built for design more than function, the first spec to get ignored is storage. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Get Some Extra Space With Today's SanDisk Memory Storage Sale," 27 Feb. 2019 Get the full history of this chic mini bag, which was designed with form rather than pure function in mind, and shop it below. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Fendi Baguette is Getting a Reboot, See Its Chic History," 11 Feb. 2019 The result: workspaces that offer equal parts function, comfort, and style. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Dani Arps Knows How To Design Rooms That Help You Get Things Done," 11 Feb. 2019 And ethical values lose some of their charge when they’re thrown into contention with the elemental shopping values, i.e., function, style, convenience, price. Maya Singer, Vogue, "Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism?”," 4 Feb. 2019 Bank traders serve a key function, matching buyers and sellers in relatively opaque markets. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Traders Wished for Volatility. The Fourth Quarter Wasn’t What They Had in Mind.," 17 Jan. 2019 If your partner is weirded out by a super ordinary bodily function, that's on them, not you. 5. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "7 Awkward Things That Happen During Sex and How to Recover from Them," 10 Dec. 2018 That’s a law enforcement function, and the military can’t perform those duties on US soil unless there’s no other way to enforce the law, William Banks, an expert on the military’s domestic authorities at Syracuse University, told me. Alex Ward, Vox, "The Pentagon is resisting Trump’s most controversial military requests for the border," 5 Nov. 2018 But protein serves a lot of other important purposes, like being the building blocks for muscles and organs, forming enzymes that support basic life functions, and building and repairing tissue, Davis says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Redbook, "What Are Macros, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And yet, this crisis has functioned as a sidenote in the national political conversation and in recent presidential campaigns—plopped into speeches and paid haphazard lip service to without any meaningful action. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "This Is Why We Need Women Running for President," 19 Feb. 2019 On records past, Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt has functioned as the band’s own George Harrison, writing and singing a sturdy song or two per release to balance out Mr. Cox’s more indulgent musical tendencies. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?’ by Deerhunter Review: A Statelier Kind of Chaos," 9 Jan. 2019 Too many forms of atheism have functioned like monotheisms by another method. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why science can’t replace religion," 4 Nov. 2018 The loss hit Wilson more personally a few days after the election when her house—which had functioned as her campaign headquarters—emptied out. Julie Zeilinger, Marie Claire, "The Women Who Ran...and Lost," 24 Oct. 2018 Nearly 7 in 10 young adults think American politics have not been functioning well in the past month, and many think the country will become even more politically divided in the next few years. Hannah Fingerhut, The Seattle Times, "AP-NORC/MTV Poll: Young people looking for younger leaders," 30 July 2018 The Navy plans new LPD-17 Flight II amphibs to replace its current fleet of Dock Landing Ships, or LSD 41s, which have functioned for years as a support ship in an Amphibious Ready Group. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Navy pushes for more amphibious assault ships," 13 July 2018 Some of China’s credit lines have functioned in a similar manner. Daniel Mcdowell, Washington Post, "Beijing is taking on a broader financial role. Here’s why that matters.," 14 June 2018 But midterm elections have often functioned as a referendum on the president. NBC News, "Turning up the heat on Trump: Dems say 'culture of corruption' to be focus of midterms," 21 May 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 Mar 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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Comments on function

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