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

The value of the shoes in the secondhand marketplace—the price tag on their clout—was about fifteen hundred dollars, a function of both their scarcity and their modish chunkiness. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Normcore Opulence of Preachers Wearing Four-Figure Sneakers," 14 June 2019 Last August, for instance, Ducey was invited to tout the work of his Border Strike Force at a White House function honoring immigration and border officials. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Trump: Ducey is doing 'a fantastic job,' applauds new occupational licensing law during White House meeting," 13 June 2019 That’s followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, internal and external bleeding, such as oozing from the gums or blood in the stool. NBC News, "What is Ebola? What to know about symptoms, vaccine, outbreaks," 12 June 2019 Through these commitments, shinise firms performed a cultural function in preventing cultural erosion at the local community level. Innan Sasaki, Quartz at Work, "How to build a business that will last centuries," 10 June 2019 And that’s a function of Brown’s direction as band founder and leader. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland.com, "Zac Brown Band percussionist Daniel de los Reyes marries music and philanthropy," 10 June 2019 Add to that driver-seat memory functions, ventilated front seats, retractable sunshades for the middle-row seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, aluminum interior trim, additional interior lighting, and a navigation system. James Raia, Houston Chronicle, "Mazda CX-9: Family hauler is versatile, well-equipped, has plenty of overall appeal," 8 June 2019 The game comes with a multi-player function, allowing up to four players to play together in online or split-screen modes. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Jumanji videogame welcomes you to the jungle this November," 4 June 2019 Withers functions offensively as a wing but defensively as a stretch 4. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "'His skill set is crazy': Jaelyn Withers may be Louisville's most underrated freshman," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The purpose of the form was to enable the INS, or any other functioning remnant of the federal government, to locate and round up immigrants. Ed Burmila, The New Republic, "If Trump wanted to give himself sweeping new powers, could anyone stop him?," 13 June 2019 While cardiac diseases and conditions are often successfully treated through medication and lifestyle changes, sometimes surgery is required to ensure a healthy functioning heart. Trihealth, Cincinnati.com, "Common surgical heart treatments," 13 June 2019 So far, Livelihood is more of a dream than a fully functioning company. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Ashley Biden knows a presidential campaign is coming. For now, she’s talking hoodies and economic inequality.," 12 June 2019 Thugs, thieves, and killers have moved into the vacuum left by the lack of a functioning government. Francine Prose, Harper's magazine, "Down and Out in the Peloponnesus," 10 Apr. 2019 That’s the beauty of the Fourth Estate at its best, highest functioning level. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Crime + Punishment," 22 Aug. 2018 Bravissimo took the plight of more top-heavy women to heart, and after a few months turned their April Fool's joke into an actual functioning product. Susan Brickell, Health.com, "This Pool Float Is a Game Changer for Anyone With Big Boobs," 28 June 2018 This shows the benefit of having a functioning port. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Mayor: Port authority benefitting Gary," 22 June 2018 But for almost 250 years, our justice system has functioned pretty well, in fact, better than any other country in the world. Fox News, "Ann Coulter on left's meltdown over Kavanaugh allegation; will Carter Page finally learn why the FBI spied on him?," 19 Sep. 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

17 Jun 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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