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

Earlier this year, an update in the Jacquard platform introduced a handful of other functions, like support for ride-sharing alerts and pin drops on a map to save locations. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Google and Levi’s smart jacket can now warn you if you’re about to leave your phone behind," 9 Dec. 2018 Up to 8 hours of battery life will keep this tablet running all day long, while the 7-inch IPS display is great for reading, watching videos, messaging, and many other great visual functions. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Amazon Prime members can get the Fire 7 tablet with Alexa for just $35 today," 19 Sep. 2018 Glutamate is associated with excitability — among many other brain functions such as memory. Alice Levitt, Vox, "I tried ketamine to treat my depression. Within a day, I felt relief.," 24 July 2018 Adjacent to the main house, the restaurant features a 330-seat pavilion banquet room, built in 2007, for weddings and other large social functions, with glass walls on three sides. Bruce Ingram, Naperville Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Meson Sabika in Naperville," 5 July 2018 In addition, Bush added, the GLO has successfully completed housing project guidelines and identified qualified contractors for housing programs, grant administration, environmental clearance and other functions as required by federal regulations. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "McCaul says efforts need to be expedited to help storm survivors," 3 July 2018 The secretary of state oversees the elections system and other administrative functions. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Arizona elections: Which candidates got knocked off the 2018 ballot?," 29 June 2018 Among many other functions, Facebook uses A.I. to weed spam out of people’s News Feeds. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Unmasking A.I.'s Bias Problem," 25 June 2018 Other agency functions, including the processing of employee retirement claims and benefits, could be moved to the General Services Administration. Anchorage Daily News, "White House to propose merging Labor and Education into one agency," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Alas, numbing spray on the cervix during a Pap smear would function pretty much the same way that period blood does. Jessica Wakeman, SELF, "Ob/Gyns Share 11 Ways to Make a Pap Smear Easier on You and Your Vagina," 11 Jan. 2019 Unlike its sibling, Voyager 2 still has a functioning Plasma Science Experiment (PLS)— an instrument that has been able to detect the drop-off with accuracy. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space," 10 Dec. 2018 The Colts have tried to cobble together a functioning offensive line for six years now. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Nelson what the Colts have needed for years," 26 Apr. 2018 To Ryan, the greatest danger to liberty lies not in a president who defies the rule of law but in high tax rates and a functioning social safety net. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Fanatic, Fraud, Factotum: The Rise and Fall of Paul Ryan," 11 Apr. 2018 Sticky Notes, like Notepad, originally functioned as a sort of casual note-taking app that appeared like a Post-It note. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hints of Windows 10's 2019 future show up in early '19H1' builds," 6 Nov. 2018 That’s also true for Venice’s largest synagogue, the still-functioning Scuola Spagnola. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 Originally created as a Viking fortress, this 13th-century castle (with additions in later centuries) has functioned as a prison, treasury, court of law, and royal residence. Amy Tara Koch, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan a Family Trip to Ireland," 12 July 2018 Ask yourself; will a landscaper get more visibility from brochures and cookies, or a patch of grass and a live sheep? Won't a plumber be more prominent by displaying a functioning toilet? Rob Weinberg, Pomerado News, "Must trade shows be boring?," 12 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

14 Jan 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 \

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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