the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
any ceremonious public or social gathering or occasion.
a factor related to or dependent upon other factors: Price is a function of supply and demand.
Also called mul·ti·ple-val·ue func·tion [muhl-tuh-puhl-val-yoo fuhngk-shuhn]. /ˈmʌl tə pəlˈvæl yu ˈfʌŋk ʃən/. 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 y2 = x2, which assigns to every x the two values y = +x and y = −x.
a set of ordered pairs in which none of the first elements of the pairs appears twice.
a relationship in which an input value of a variable has a specifically calculated output value: for example, if the function of x is x2, the output will always be the square of whatever the value of x is. Abbreviations: f, F
a formula expressing a relation between the angles of a triangle and its sides, as sine or cosine.
the grammatical role a linguistic form has or the position it occupies in a particular construction.
the grammatical roles or the positions of a linguistic form or form class collectively.
Sociology. the contribution made by a sociocultural phenomenon to an ongoing social system.
to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate: The computer isn't functioning now. He rarely functions before noon.
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.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use function in a sentence
But it performs two distinct functions, both of which are undeniably valuable.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract performs different digestive functions are various different locations.‘Rectal Feeding’ Has Nothing to Do with Nutrition, Everything to Do with Torture | Russell Saunders | December 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“It functions as free advertising,” says Apollinaire Scherr, a dance critic at the Financial Times.
The way San Pedro Prison functions is a necessity as a result, Bolivian journalist Aldo Medinaceli explained to me.Cocaine, Politicians and Wives: Inside the World’s Most Bizarre Prison | Jason Batansky | October 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Top technology firms from other cities often have their key R&D functions in the Bay Area.Battle of the Upstarts: Houston vs. San Francisco Bay | Joel Kotkin | October 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In the old days every great man kept a toad-eater; sometimes his functions were highly paid—Wolff's are, I fancy.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
The Commandant was to take over the offices, staff, and functions of the late Civil Governor.The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
They have been divided into three great classes, of widely different properties, composition, and functions.Elements of Agricultural Chemistry | Thomas Anderson
In both cases the judicial functions were usurped by a body unfit to exercise such functions.The History of England from the Accession of James II. | Thomas Babington Macaulay
But the offerings were by no means confined to the young men that Isabel met at the functions of the week.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for function
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
an official or formal social gathering or ceremony
a factor dependent upon another or other factors: the length of the flight is a function of the weather
Also called: map, mapping 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)
to operate or perform as specified; work properly
(foll by as) to perform the action or role (of something or someone else): a coin may function as a screwdriver
- functionless, adjective
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 function
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.
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for function
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.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.