[ fuhngk-shuh-nl ]
See synonyms for: functionalfunctionality on

  1. of or relating to a function or functions: functional difficulties in the administration.

  2. capable of operating or functioning: When will the ventilating system be functional again?

  1. having or serving a utilitarian purpose; capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed: functional architecture; a chair that is functional as well as decorative.

  2. Also func·tion·al·is·tic. (of a building or furnishing) constructed or made according to the principles of functionalism or primarily as a direct fulfillment of a material need.

  3. Medicine/Medical. without a known organic cause or structural change: a functional disorder.: Compare organic (def. 5).

  4. pertaining to an algebraic operation: a functional symbol.

  5. Linguistics. (of linguistic analysis, language teaching, etc.) concerned with the communicative role of language rather than, in addition to, or as the framework for its formal structure.

  1. Mathematics. a function that has a domain whose elements are functions, sets, or the like, and that assumes numerical values.

Origin of functional

First recorded in 1625–35; function + -al1

Other words from functional

  • func·tion·al·i·ty, noun
  • func·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • hy·per·func·tion·al, adjective
  • hy·per·func·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • mul·ti·func·tion·al, adjective
  • non·func·tion·al, adjective
  • non·func·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • pre·func·tion·al, adjective
  • sem·i·func·tion·al, adjective
  • sem·i·func·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • sub·func·tion·al, adjective
  • sub·func·tion·al·ly, adverb
  • su·per·func·tion·al, adjective
  • un·func·tion·al, adjective
  • un·func·tion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for functional


/ (ˈfʌŋkʃənəl) /

  1. of, involving, or containing a function or functions

  2. practical rather than decorative; utilitarian: functional architecture

  1. capable of functioning; working

  2. med affecting a function of an organ without structural change

  3. psychol

    • relating to the purpose or context of a behaviour

    • denoting a psychosis such as schizophrenia assumed not to have a direct organic cause, like deterioration or poisoning of the brain: Compare organic psychosis

  1. maths a function whose domain is a set of functions and whose range is a set of functions or a set of numbers

Derived forms of functional

  • functionally, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for functional


[ fŭngkshə-nəl ]

  1. Affecting bodily functions but not organic structure, as a disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome. Compare organic.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.