View synonyms for function


[ fuhngk-shuhn ]


  1. the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
  2. any ceremonious public or social gathering or occasion.
  3. a factor related to or dependent upon other factors:

    Price is a function of supply and demand.

  4. Mathematics.
    1. Also called correspondence, map, mapping, transformation. a relation between two sets in which one element of the second set is assigned to each element of the first set, as the expression y = x 2 ; operator.
    2. Also called mul·ti·ple-val·ue func·tion [muhl, -t, uh, -p, uh, l-, val, -yoo , fuhngk, -sh, uh, n]. a relation between two sets in which two or more elements of the second set are assigned to each element of the first set, as y 2 = x 2 , which assigns to every x the two values y = + x and y = − x.
    3. a set of ordered pairs in which none of the first elements of the pairs appears twice.
    4. a relationship in which an input value of a variable has a specifically calculated output value: for example, if the function of x is x 2 , the output will always be the square of whatever the value of x is. : f, F
  5. Geometry.
    1. a formula expressing a relation between the angles of a triangle and its sides, as sine or cosine.
  6. Grammar.
    1. the grammatical role a linguistic form has or the position it occupies in a particular construction.
    2. the grammatical roles or the positions of a linguistic form or form class collectively.
  7. Sociology. the contribution made by a sociocultural phenomenon to an ongoing social system.

verb (used without object)

  1. to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate:

    The computer isn't functioning now. He rarely functions before noon.

  2. to have or exercise a function; serve:

    In earlier English the present tense often functioned as a future. This orange crate can function as a chair.


/ ˈfʌŋkʃən /


  1. the natural action or intended purpose of a person or thing in a specific role

    the function of a hammer is to hit nails into wood

  2. an official or formal social gathering or ceremony
  3. a factor dependent upon another or other factors

    the length of the flight is a function of the weather

  4. Also calledmapmapping maths logic a relation between two sets that associates a unique element (the value) of the second (the range) with each element (the argument) of the first (the domain): a many-one relation. Symbol: f( x ) The value of f( x ) for x = 2 is f(2)
“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


  1. to operate or perform as specified; work properly
  2. foll by as to perform the action or role (of something or someone else)

    a coin may function as a screwdriver

“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


/ fŭngkshən /

  1. A relationship between two sets that matches each member of the first set with a unique member of the second set. Functions are often expressed as an equation, such as y = x + 5, meaning that y is a function of x such that for any value of x, the value of y will be 5 greater than x.
  2. A quantity whose value depends on the value given to one or more related quantities. For example, the area of a square is a function of the length of its sides.


  1. In mathematics , a quantity whose value is determined by the value of some other quantity. For example, “The yield of this field is a function of the amount of fertilizer applied” means that a given amount of fertilizer will yield an amount of whatever crop is growing.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈfunctionless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • in·ter·func·tion adjective
  • mul·ti·func·tion adjective
  • non·func·tion·ing adjective
  • o·ver·func·tion·ing adjective
  • pre·func·tion noun
  • re·func·tion verb (used without object)
  • sub·func·tion noun
  • su·per·func·tion noun
  • un·func·tion·ing adjective
  • well-func·tion·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of function1

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin functiōn- (stem of functiō ) “a performance, execution,” equivalent to funct(us) (past participle of fungī ) “performed, executed” + -iōn- -ion
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Word History and Origins

Origin of function1

C16: from Latin functiō , from fungī to perform, discharge
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Example Sentences

Not every website has one, and even the ones that do have very surface-level functions.

In part, this was a function of some remaining uncertainty about how the virus spread most effectively.

Excipients are critical materials and serve a broad variety of functions.

For example, shipping, and social listening sound like siloed functions, but actually they’re closely related.

From Digiday

That’s because daily exercise not only helps kids stay physically and emotionally healthy, it also boosts cognitive function.

But the copper performs another important function: working as a catalyst in the distillation process.

The iPad was an even bigger hit, especially as it had a new function that allowed him to play the drawing back.

Openness might be a function of sexuality and gender, as well.

Entitled “Please Go Home,” the parody stars Daniel Franzese, best known as the “too gay to function” Damian from Mean Girls.

Sex is a basic human function; a physiological drive we cannot ignore.

To prevent intruders or extruders from withdrawing his mind from the text, he exercises the Inhibitory function of the Attention.

Little girls perhaps represent the attractive function of adornment: they like to be thought pretty.

This is hardly a function—parties even in the big political country-houses are more or less informal.

No definite proof of this position has, however, as yet been adduced, and the function of the compound is entirely unknown.

After the formal proclamation was issued the function terminated with a banquet given to 200 insurgent notabilities.


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