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

However, Apple Watches do not have a fingerprint ID unlock function like iPhones. Fox News, "Newspaper says Turkey has audio of Saudi writer's slaying," 14 Oct. 2018 Cases of respiratory infections have nearly tripled in a decade, pneumonia is a leading cause of death for infants, and children living in the center of the city have 40 percent lower lung function than those in rural areas, UNICEF says. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Mongolia’s nomadic way of life threatened by climate change, neglect, modernity," 8 July 2018 Gradually in a few months, Williams had function back in his arm. Elise Riley, azcentral, "Raise your hand," 2 July 2018 Having attendance functions on the app means teachers don't have to travel back to their desk to enter information into a computer. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroit teachers' new app changes how schools handle lockdowns," 19 June 2018 Autopilot has some functions Super Cruise does not, such as the ability to change lanes when the driver hits the turn signal. Jamie Lareau And Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "GM putting Super Cruise hands-free driving on all Cadillacs by 2020," 6 June 2018 This has a keyboard and screen, and functions like a computer, sync-able to other devices, but with no browser and no notifications. Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "Vacationing in Sicily and New York, thinking of San Francisco," 4 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Similarly, the Pocket Closet aims to pull double duty, functioning as a shelving unit from the outside, and expanding to reveal ample closet space on the inside. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ori’s new robotic furniture includes a bed that drops from the ceiling," 14 Nov. 2018 Electrolytes are minerals that keep our systems functioning and, in the case of extensive sweat loss, will need to be replenished. Laura Schwecherl, SELF, "The First-Time Marathoner's Guide to Fuel and Hydration for Your Marathon Training," 6 Oct. 2018 In this case, developers offered to restore the mansion and maintain green space for residents to use on the property’s expansive lawn, which has historically functioned as a community park in West Towson. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "Widespread support, a couple passionate detractors at Bosley Estates public meeting," 12 July 2018 Bareilles' music — her songs often function as interior monologues and are suffused with hope — was the key factor. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "In writing the music for 'Waitress,' Sara Bareilles taught musicals a thing or two," 10 July 2018 This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the foundation accountable for its misuse of charitable assets. Danny Hakim, BostonGlobe.com, "N.Y. sues Trump Foundation over way it used funds," 15 June 2018 When quarterback Kurt Warner suffered a torn ligament in his left arm during the 2007 season, the Cardinals athletic training and medical staff rigged up a brace that allowed Warner to function and play the following week. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Kurt Warner among ex-pros backing new concussion treatment that aims to prevent CTE," 17 May 2018 Ancient tools offer insights into both how societies have functioned and how humanity has grown. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Remarkable Ancient Cave Site Shows Humanity's Evolving Relationship With Tools," 9 May 2018 Another noted that the WSJ mobile app could also function as a crypto wallet. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "WSJCoin: The Cryptocurrency That Never Was," 12 Nov. 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

2 Dec 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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