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

Some bigs just aren’t cut out to space the floor as their primary function; when your entire role can be reduced to whether your shot is falling, the entire enterprise can feel awfully fragile. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Serge Ibaka Seizes His Finals Moment in Raptors' Game 4 Win," 8 June 2019 After all, a healthy gut microbiome can help fend off issues like diarrhea and IBS and help your whole body function at its best. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 4 Best Health Benefits of Kombucha, According to Registered Dietitians," 6 June 2019 Fischer did not allow the final not-Mozart sections their perfunctory function. Los Angeles Times, "Mozart’s Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl takes on special relevance in tragic times," 7 Aug. 2019 Their elections are held on Tuesday and their state government functions until the close of the meeting on the final day. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County students ‘learn by doing’ at Boys State," 6 Aug. 2019 The problem is that U.N. agencies control their own investigative functions and deal with disciplinary matters internally. Ben Evansky, Fox News, "UN Palestinian refugee agency reels over allegations of sexual misconduct, nepotism," 4 Aug. 2019 Because most people don’t know much about Rhodesia, its iconography functions as Confederate or Nazi messaging, but without the same consequences (for now, at least). C. Brandon Ogbunu, WIRED, "How White Nationalists Have Co-Opted Fan Fiction," 1 Aug. 2019 Besides dehydrating you at a faster rate, alcohol can alter your brain functions significantly, especially in the heat. Ramona Sentinel, "Crime Prevention Corner: 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for a safe Ramona summer," 24 July 2019 Instead, these noncoding RNAs piggyback on the messenger RNAs, interfering with or amplifying their function, thus causing more or less of certain proteins to be produced. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how," 18 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Pelham said studies are starting to show that teaching children functioning skills rather merely prescribing medication can be more effective in the short and longer term. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Back to school: South Florida researcher wants to prove behavior adjustments can treat ADHD," 9 Aug. 2019 The resolution primarily addresses campfires rather than propane tanks, which Hettrick said generally have functioning safety devices that prevent them from causing large wildfires. Author: Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Assembly votes to allow quicker clearing of camps in ‘wildfire danger areas’," 8 Aug. 2019 Launched in 2011, Detroit Bikes specializes in commuter bikes and describes itself as the only bike manufacturer in Detroit, with the only currently functioning, large-scale bike frame factory in the United States. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Jeff Goldblum visits Detroit for mysterious reason — and picks up special purchase," 7 Aug. 2019 Team Jones, as their mother, Becca, called them, functioned as a unit, going everywhere together. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "Can the Giants Really Bank on Daniel Jones?," 7 Aug. 2019 Open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle: Cedar Road At 1:10 a.m. July 27, an officer stopped a car that was being driven without functioning headlights or taillights. cleveland.com, "Headlight violation leads to arrest of man on gun, drug charges: University Heights police blotter," 31 July 2019 This week, the Commissioners Court approved a budget amendment that set aside $206,856 to begin purchasing some of the necessary items for a court to function: office supplies, witness chairs, flags, a state of Texas seal, judge’s robes and more. Dallas News, "Collin County will add two new district courts this fall to help with growing caseload," 24 July 2019 Ship logs and sailors’ journals noted sperm, right, and humpback whales being killed for baleen—which functioned then in some ways like modern plastic—and blubber, which could be rendered into oil for lamps and industrial machinery. Steve Benjamin, National Geographic, "Humpback whales make stunning comeback in southern Africa," 18 July 2019 One of the first earrings to be sold as a single item instead of as a pair, the bauble promised the haute poshness of Dior with the arty ethos of its then-creative director Raf Simons, functioning as much as an art piece as jewelry. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "We’ve Gotta Have It: The 17 Items that Defined Fashion in the 2010s," 18 July 2019

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

12 Aug 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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