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

appointment, berth, billet, capacity, connection, job, place, position, post, situation

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 excitement now is in appreciating the myriad functions of what are, in effect, minute chemical factories. Helen Bynum, WSJ, "‘Microbia’ Review: The Many Tiny Worlds Among Us," 12 July 2018 Daimler said a function in the onboard diagnostics system prevents overdosing of the AdBlue fluid in nonstandard operating conditions, such as the use of biofuels. BostonGlobe.com, "Emissions issues plague Daimler truck engines," 9 July 2018 Here, the memory of its prior purpose merges with the promise, mostly metaphorical, of a new function, in support of this stirring show’s assertion that acts of nurture and nationhood, art and humanity are profoundly linked. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead at SoCal museums, July 8-15: 'Solar Reserve' at LACMA and more," 7 July 2018 The MoviePass system functions in 91 percent of theaters, including the more than 8,200 movie screens operated by AMC in the United States. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "Already at Movie Theaters Near You: Ticket Subscriptions," 2 July 2018 In the beginning of the show, the visuals behind the band didn't function properly and the sound was muffled, according to local outlets. Sofia Mele, Billboard, "Dave Matthews Band Battled Sound Issues, Skipped the Hits at Summerfest," 2 July 2018 David Bley, who leads the Gates Foundation’s Pacific Northwest unit, said his team is the only one that functions in a more typical family foundation fashion by giving to local causes. Washington Post, "Barbs for Bezos but Bill Gates largely admired in Seattle," 30 June 2018 As menswear continues to move towards clothes and sneakers that provide function and style in equal measure, these Balenciagas certainly deliver on both. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "Pick Up Balenciaga’s Soon-To-Be Sold Out Sneaker Before Anyone Else," 29 June 2018 While the Kenyon log cabin was built with function in mind, Richards expanded that when architects were tapped for Yale tombs, designs took on a more referential form, often echoing religious architecture. Robert Khederian, Curbed, "Tomb raiders: The clubhouses of Yale’s secret societies," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bama has only one functioning well, despite the promise from state government that a dozen would be built. New York Times, "A Homecoming for Nigerians Who Fled Militants. All That’s Missing Is the ‘Home.’," 10 July 2018 There, the central AI has to work through notions of protection versus imprisonment, a real dilemma for any higher-functioning robot. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018 The synagogue, also known as Eliyahu Hanavi, is one of the few Jewish places of worship in Syria that was functioning until shortly before conflict began in March 2011. Bassem Mroue, Fox News, "Jewish artifacts disappear from Damascus in fog of Syria war," 17 June 2018 The problem is that the political constraints, which functioned reasonably well in the past, are coming completely unglued. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump is pardon-giddy. Is that a constitutional problem?," 6 June 2018 Many male economists seem to reckon the meritocracy is functioning perfectly well, with no problems to fix; men presumably dominate because of superior ability. The Economist, "Barriers to entry," 10 May 2018 So can practicing what to do in advance, because our brains don't function well under stress. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "FBI terrorism expert addresses members of the Avon Citizen Police Academy," 22 Apr. 2018 Despite the absence of Deiter, Dietzen and Kasl, the top two lines appeared to function well. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Badgers' depth on offensive line better than it has been in several seasons," 13 Mar. 2018 Our hero, Sterling Archer, (H. Jon Benjamin) has become a moderately-functioning alcoholic seaplane pilot. Whitney Friedlander, Esquire, "Spring 2018 TV Preview: Your Complete Guide to the Season's Premieres," 8 Mar. 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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Phrases Related to function

a function of

Statistics for function

Last Updated

26 Aug 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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