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 \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce functionless (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Portal-to-Portal calls unlock even more functions, such as kid-friendly games like moving your head to catch a donut falling from the sky. Emily Glover, NBC News, "How Facebook's Portal Mini earned a place in my home," 15 May 2020 To provide both instant relief and restore muscle function, the five exercises below include a combination of instant-gratification, feel-good stretches with posture-correcting exercises. Dana Santas, CNN, "5 exercises to offset too much sitting," 12 May 2020 Military personnel were forbidden to attend theaters, night clubs, social functions, church services or any other gathering open to the general public in or around San Antonio. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Much like COVID-19, polio shut down schools, public places in 1946; officials urged hand washing and social distancing," 9 May 2020 The new format appears to have slightly changed not just form but also function, not just style but also substance. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Remote arguments are forcing US Supreme Court justices to wait their turn," 6 May 2020 Also familiar is Porsche's simple and extremely effective launch-control function, which revs the engine to 5000 rpm before dropping the hammer and perfectly slipping the clutch. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "The Base 2020 Porsche 911 Is a Worthy Six-Figure Sports Car," 4 May 2020 Large-scale offshore kelp farming could amplify a crucial function of kelp ecosystems: carbon sequestration. Maurice Roper, National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 30 Apr. 2020 Each has different functions, which makes training all of them vital in keeping your upper body balanced. Christa Sgobba, SELF, "This Dumbbell Shoulder Workout Will Totally Make Your Arms Quiver," 20 Apr. 2020 The order allows gatherings of two or more people as needed for essential business or governmental functions, as well as those of up to 10 people at graveside funeral services. Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, "Ventura County faith leaders demand officials allow socially distant gatherings amid coronavirus shutdown," 17 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That would allow outside manufacturers to take over production of fully functioning machines. Jackie Wattles And Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Automakers are racing to make ventilators. But it's not that easy," 27 Mar. 2020 Since Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the national Democratic Party has tried to stop his presidency from functioning. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump’s Leadership," 25 Mar. 2020 Even with perfectly functioning equipment, Antarctic malevolence can be remarkably inventive. Robin George Andrews, New York Times, "Antarctica vs. Science," 2 May 2020 According to governors across the country, each state's plan to reopen businesses will vary, but all are looking at low-risk businesses — like ones that primarily function in open spaces — to be the first ones back in action. Asia Ewart, refinery29.com, "Stay At Home Orders Are Coming To An End — So, Which Businesses Will Reopen First?," 27 Apr. 2020 That dueling work is typical of how markets function in the private sector. Erin Brodwin, STAT, "‘It’s noisy’: Competing Covid-19 efforts could hamper progress, experts warn," 23 Apr. 2020 Lawmakers have grappled before with how to function during an emergency or disaster. Los Angeles Times, "Democrats scrap plans to vote this week on historic rule change to allow remote voting," 22 Apr. 2020 With many states barring nonessential workplaces from functioning, 43% of respondents reported fears of losing their jobs. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Nearly 3 in 4 fear losing personal liberties because of coronavirus: Poll," 20 Apr. 2020 Defense lawyers said Jackson has a history of respiratory disease with only one functioning lung, a history of diabetes and hypertension and is a former smoker. oregonlive, "4 separate trials ordered to prosecute accused serial killer Homer Jackson of Portland," 19 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for function

Time Traveler

The first known use of function was in 1533

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for function

function

noun
How to pronounce function (audio)

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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