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 \ ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən-​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 The messages continued for several minutes before a blue bar was placed at the bottom of the screen to block them from view until the chat function, where participants had been invited to submit questions to the candidates, was turned off. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Connecticut congressional debate interrupted by profane Zoombomber who posted anti-LGBTQ messages," 20 Oct. 2020 Prior research has found a direct link between optimism and healthier diet and exercise behaviors, as well as better cardiac health, a stronger immune system, better lung function, and lower mortality risk, among others. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "You're not nuts. This really is a crazy time. Here are a dozen ways to cope," 20 Oct. 2020 This intersection of form and function is just as important in a vehicle, says Robertson. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "This Denver Home—and its Community—Is Designed to Anticipate All Your Needs," 19 Oct. 2020 In what ways do our major systems – education, health care, national defense and others – function effectively or less effectively? Marjorie Hershey, The Conversation, "Political bias in media doesn’t threaten democracy — other, less visible biases do," 15 Oct. 2020 In many ways, social media sites today function as the public square. New York Times, "The First Amendment in the age of disinformation.," 13 Oct. 2020 The Michigan case, like other incidents of militia violence, function as a warning. Harel Shapira, The New Republic, "The All-American Mind of a Militia Member," 12 Oct. 2020 In the main house, tour-goers will see a kitchen designed for form as well as function. Kim Palmer, Star Tribune, "Artisan home on Lake Independence has French accent," 9 Oct. 2020 Often cast aside as a style that doesn’t offer form and function, laminate is actually a jack-of-all-trades material that deserves serious consideration for your home. Sarah Baird, Good Housekeeping, "Laminate," 14 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is worth paying attention to: any notable loss of brain tissue will reduce the brain’s ability to function optimally. Eleanor Morgan, refinery29.com, "Even Moderate Drinking Is Damaging Our Health, So Why Do We Do It?," 11 Oct. 2020 Parents often report significant changes in their children’s ability to function socially and academically after the surgeries. al, "Alabama 5-year-old goes to Chicago for life-saving surgery, family struggles with COVID restrictions," 25 Sep. 2020 Parents often report significant changes in their children’s ability to function socially and academically after the surgeries. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Column: 5-year-old Alabama girl is in Chicago for life-saving surgery. COVID-19 has complicated every step of the way.," 25 Sep. 2020 DeVayne described it as a chronic, incurable illness that causes the skin to tighten and thick scar tissues to form around internal organs, impairing their ability to function. Tiana Kennell, USA TODAY, "'RuPaul's Drag Race' star Chi Chi DeVayne dies at 34 following hospitalization for pneumonia," 21 Aug. 2020 My ability to function as a normal human being isn’t noticeably diminished, though. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Elderly neighbor’s trusted caretaker may be up to no good," 2 Aug. 2020 The acid mantle derives its name from the fact that the skin’s ideal pH is slightly acidic, about 5.5, and anything that can skew it too alkaline can disrupt its ability to function optimally. April Long, Town & Country, "Why The Acid Mantle Is an Essential Part of Your Skin's Health," 28 May 2020 On the day of that first School Board meeting, the Community Advisory Board will cease to function, and the school district will be considered to have been returned to local control, Salas-Ford said. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, "First meeting of new LRSD board depends on election, panel told," 9 Oct. 2020 The cuts agreed to by the governor and the Regents are unfortunately creating a brain drain of educators and researchers that Alaska needs to retain in order attract the students to fill the jobs that our state requires to function. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska Senate District 18 — Harriet A. Drummond," 3 Oct. 2020

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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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