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

Efficiency and function were also major considerations. Marni Elyse Katz, BostonGlobe.com, "Combining properties turns a Mission Hill brownstone into one family’s dream home," 5 Sep. 2019 So the idea that adding more fatty acids to your skin could help improve the look and function of that layer makes sense. A.a. Newton, SELF, "Do You Really Need to Put Fatty Acids on Your Face?," 28 Aug. 2019 Calcium plays a role in blood clotting, blood pressure, and maintaining normal heart rhythm and brain function. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "7 Chia Seed Benefits, According to a Nutritionist," 27 Aug. 2019 Insert, where the reader was, a person on his device, and function becomes décor—which, Price suggests, is what books now are for many of us. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "Reader, I Googled It," 26 Aug. 2019 As an open source platform, Android can usually be implemented in whatever way manufacturers want, with few requirements about how the user interface looks or functions. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "The Android 10 Privacy and Security Upgrades You Should Know About," 22 Aug. 2019 There’s no Sugar Bowl gear on display when Texas comes together for practice or team meetings and functions. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas trying to tune out external expectations as season approaches," 21 Aug. 2019 An Android smartphone, if left alone, will power all the way down to the point where nearly every Internet and notification function will stop working, which saves a ton of battery. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Turning the Nintendo Switch into Android’s best gaming hardware," 15 Aug. 2019 In some cases, the companies could save money by printing their newspapers at one facility instead of two, and by combining and centralizing copy editing, design and daily print layout functions. Jonathan O'connell, Paul Farhi, Anchorage Daily News, "America’s two largest newspaper chains, GateHouse and Gannett, announce merger as industry remains in turmoil," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Workers are installing trusses for the stadium's new 19,000-ton steel retractable roof and establishing functioning air conditioning in some parts of the ballpark. Dallas News, "'A resort in the middle of Arlington': Live! by Loews Hotel is ready for its debut," 22 Aug. 2019 At the very least, a Dwight with functioning glutes at least has the potential to do more all over the court than the other centers available, all of whom serve only very specific functions at this point in their careers. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "The Case for the Lakers to Sign Dwight Howard," 19 Aug. 2019 This is a film about how friendships function within shifting identities and changing times. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Good Boys’ delivers all the bad behavior and big laughs a tween can handle," 15 Aug. 2019 The festival site is a functioning farm the rest of the year, right? Katie Bain, Billboard, "Shambhala Founder Jimmy Bundschuh on Maintaining the Event's Independent Status: 'It's the Opposite Model of Most Festivals'," 9 Aug. 2019 If anything, their affinity for building insular worlds might have hindered their understanding of how the tools would actually function. Zeynep Tufekci, Scientific American, "Should Kids Learn to Code?," 7 Aug. 2019 Mr Vizcarra is right to say that Peru needs a functioning government. The Economist, "Martín Vizcarra tries to end his presidency early," 1 Aug. 2019 But the fact of the matter is that there's no way this country can function without reaching consensus. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Here's what Joe Biden said about Trump, Pence, Buttigieg and Midwest voters in IndyStar interview," 25 July 2019 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

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

9 Sep 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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