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

Synonyms: Verb

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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 His book functions as a collection of ecological crime scene photos. Jordan G. Teicher, The New Republic, "An Animal’s-Eye View of Mass Extinction in Progress," 7 Jan. 2020 How well your ovary functions depends on your cycle and your mental and emotional state. Time, "Gen X Women Get Less Sleep Than Any Other Generation. What's Keeping Them Up?," 6 Jan. 2020 If their function is to modify children’s moral behavior, then what kind of morality are they being led to? Jean Genet, Harper's magazine, "Minor Threats," 6 Jan. 2020 Circadian rhythm also is responsible for our physiological, emotional and behavioral functions. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Chemistry, not laziness, is why your couch beckons to you during the dark days of December," 21 Dec. 2019 Trump faces two articles of impeachment for abusing power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and for obstructing Congress by attempting to block the House investigation and its oversight functions. al, "Alabama readies for impeachment rallies on eve of U.S. House vote," 17 Dec. 2019 In Brazil and Colombia, an upper house has the final say if the president has been impeached for bad conduct or crimes in the exercise of his or her functions, but the supreme court does if common crimes have been committed. The Economist, "How impeachment works outside America," 16 Dec. 2019 Both have lost sight of their historic function to preserve the peace. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Present at the Demolition," 14 Dec. 2019 And homelessness is not the only challenge the Portland- area faces in making its mental health system function for all who need it. oregonlive, "Oregon’s mental health system is broken. Can the reformer hired to fix it succeed?," 14 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These systems function in the background of consciousness, envisaging futures compatible with our needs and desires and planning how those might be brought about. James Carmody, The Conversation, "Why we are hard-wired to worry, and what we can do to calm down," 10 Jan. 2020 Accountants increasingly need to be able to check whether algorithms are functioning correctly, evaluate potential weaknesses of results, and communicate them in the context of the business. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "CFOs’ Concerns About the Economy, Talent Shortage Seep Into 2020," 31 Dec. 2019 Across the school, students in the business and finance academy stood ready as tellers at a fully functioning Class Act Federal Credit Union branch. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Can JCPS' alternative schools save students on the brink of dropping out?," 11 Dec. 2019 Her once-thriving events company has barely functioned since the scandal broke. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Tarnished by Epstein Scandal, Power Publicist Peggy Siegal Attempts a Hollywood Comeback," 6 Nov. 2019 Still, over the course of its nearly 1000-year history, the Tower has functioned as much more than a prison. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Discover Medieval Woman and Child’s Skeletons at the Tower of London," 24 Oct. 2019 All these assets function like branches of the military, separate but centrally coordinated by headquarters in Cleveland, with the singular goal of serving the professional painter and gaining more share of his or her wallet. Adam Seessel, Fortune, "Valuation: For Sherwin-Williams Investors, the Color of the Year Is Green," 1 Oct. 2019 This would function similar to how private Medicare plans work today, which cover about a third of Medicare seniors, and operate within the Medicare system. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Kamala Harris's Policies Before the Election," 13 Sep. 2019 Fan sites, bolstered by the launch of archival projects like the Organization for Transformative Works, functioned as our proxy public square. Laurie Penny, WIRED, "We Can Be Heroes: How the Nerds Are Reinventing Pop Culture," 19 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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Time Traveler for function

Time Traveler

The first known use of function was in 1533

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Function.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/functions. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for function

function

noun
How to pronounce function (audio)

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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