function word


noun

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).

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DON’T VACILLATE! VANQUISH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

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Question 1 of 7
What does “vacillate” mean?
Also called form word.

Origin of function word

First recorded in 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for function word

function word

noun

grammar a word, such as the, with a particular grammatical role but little identifiable meaningCompare 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