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 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 And so all of our spaces have to have more than one function. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, 16 Sep. 2021 Most children who get ADEM regain most function within four to six months. NBC News, 16 Sep. 2021 Most will experience persistent weakness requiring rehabilitation, like physical therapy, which has been shown to help affected children regain function. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2021 At present, no specific function is assigned to amino acid 681. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 But this trial, and the ongoing research testing a similar strategy in lower-limb patients, are a sign that amputation is increasingly seen as a viable alternative for restoring patients’ function. Gideon Gil, STAT, 16 Sep. 2021 It’s not uncommon for the city budget not to identify funding totals for each Police Department function. al, 15 Sep. 2021 Informa Group, which owns the Monaco Yacht Show, took time out to reassess the format and function of the event, which was canceled last year because of Covid. Richard Alban, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2021 The mayor said city staffers are reviewing the board’s function. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For anyone low on space, this dresser can also function as a nightstand, thanks to its small size. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 15 Sep. 2021 Children’s bodies — their organs, their muscles and bones, and their metabolic and immune systems — function differently than those of adults. oregonlive, 11 Sep. 2021 Children’s bodies — their organs, their muscles and bones, and their metabolic and immune systems — function differently than those of adults. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2021 Sponges function as a home for microbes, and these organisms compete for space and nutrients using antibiotics and other chemical metabolites that could potentially be put to use as medicine. Peter Andrey Smith, STAT, 10 Sep. 2021 Employed to keep the violence of prisons, slaughterhouses, and battlefields out of public life, these workers, Press argues, essentially function as trauma buffers for everybody else. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 10 Sep. 2021 Racial diversity can function as a cloaking device, concealing the most powerful forms of White supremacy while giving the appearance of racial progress. John Blake, CNN, 4 Sep. 2021 Schools often function as social safety nets for children and their families by providing meals, health services and emotional support. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, 27 Aug. 2021 The authority would also function as an outreach arm, to help lure electric-car companies to the state. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Aug. 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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Learn More About function

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

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Function.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/function. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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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 : serve

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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