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function word

a word, as a preposition, article, auxiliary, or pronoun, that chiefly expresses grammatical relationships, has little semantic content of its own, and belongs to a small, closed class of words whose membership is relatively fixed (distinguished from content word).
Also called form word.
Origin of function word
First recorded in 1935-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for function word

function word

(grammar) a word, such as the, with a particular grammatical role but little identifiable meaning Compare content word, grammatical meaning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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