function

noun
func·​tion | \ ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce function (audio) \

Essential Meaning of function

1 : the special purpose or activity for which a thing exists or is used 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. See More ExamplesWhat functions do these programs fulfill/perform/serve? 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.Hide
2 : the job or duty of a person His job combines the functions of a manager and a worker. Her chief/main/primary/principal function is to provide expert legal advice.
3 : a large ceremony or social event They went to several functions during their college reunion weekend. a social function

Full 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 function (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 \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce function (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 Jeep and McIntosh worked together to fuse the sound performance of McIntosh into the form and function of the Grand Cherokee’s architecture. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 No matter the look, this post serves as proof: fashion and function can be friends. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, 28 Sep. 2021 Emily: The level of customer engagement in consumer products and their desire to learn, and even the importance of materiality and form and function—has dramatically increased. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 23 Sep. 2021 Finkelstein said a lot of parents have questions about the connection between the coronavirus and RSV, which is on the rise simply as a function of the off-and-on social distancing of the past year and a half. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 Algorithms are also being used to predict chemical structure and function from sequence data. Peter Andrey Smith, STAT, 10 Sep. 2021 Hosted by Jo Koy, over the course of six episodes, these iron men and women race against the clock in challenging builds ranging from epic, one-of-a-kind grills to futuristic vehicles, all judged on both form and function. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 5 Sep. 2021 These chic layering pieces are perfect for flexing your fall fashion sense, thanks to the versatile designs that combine both form and function during this awkward in-between time of year. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 31 Aug. 2021 China’s scheme allocates tradable permits free of charge to existing power entities as a function of their operations’ emissions intensity and historical power output. Jordan Mcgillis, National Review, 30 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No matter what marketplace, what asset class, or what jurisdiction is analyzed the trend is clear; governments are playing a more active role in how markets function. Sean Stein Smith, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Goodman, the father of 6-month-old twins, will soon travel to Chicago in hopes of regaining the ability to walk and function normally. Chris M. Worrell, cleveland, 7 Oct. 2021 Having these motors function this way mimics a locking differential when needed and allows for increased slip control by directing the power to the tires with the most grip and not to those that are spinning. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 6 Oct. 2021 There's plenty of room for debate on whether markets really do function efficiently. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 Deploying and aligning the primary mirror will involve 132 actuators and motors, each of which must function properly. Nikk Ogasa, Scientific American, 22 Sep. 2021 However, the unfortunate reality is that school choice is necessary but not sufficient when progressive ideology dominates the institutions around which choice would function. Anthony Kinnett, National Review, 20 Sep. 2021 The firm is focused on treatments that target Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors, or FGFRs, a class of proteins that control cell growth and movement and which function abnormally in about 7 percent of cancers. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2021 Scherma and McIntyre also elaborated on how the COVID-compliant event would function. Michael Schneider, Variety, 17 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near function

Funchal

function

functionaire

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Statistics for function

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for function

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 function (audio) \ adjective

function

intransitive verb
functioned; functioning\ -​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce function (audio) \

Medical Definition of function (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a function shivering functions to maintain the heat of the body

More from Merriam-Webster on function

Nglish: Translation of function for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of function for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about function

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