Definition of function in English:


Line breaks: func|tion
Pronunciation: /ˈfʌŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n


  • 1An activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing: bridges perform the function of providing access across water bodily functions
    More example sentences
    • But it does play on social mores and our embarrassment about natural bodily functions, albeit in a crude way.
    • This is because, the article argues, they are a similar frequency to the type of electrical activity natural to cellular functions and so may cause interference.
    • When a breast can't perform its natural functions, many women find it difficult to accept it as part of their body.
    purpose, task, use, role; reason, basis, justificationresponsibility, duty, concern, province, aim, activity, assignment, obligation, charge; task, chore, job, role, errand, mission, detail, undertaking, commission; capacity, post, situation, office, occupation, employment, business, operation; French raison d'être
    informal thing, bag, line of country, pigeon
  • 1.1 [mass noun] Practical use or purpose in design: building designs that prioritize style over function
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    • Motorcycle exhausts are designed with style and function in mind.
    • The reasons for docking originated in aesthetic design, function, early medical theory and even tax minimisation.
    • The idea of function sounds very practical, very sensible, whereas beauty sounds a bit airy-fairy and a bit off in the clouds.
  • 1.2A basic task of a computer, especially one that corresponds to a single instruction from the user.
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    • Method and apparatus for presenting new computer software functions to a user based upon actual usage
    • An icon is a graphic image that represents an available function on a computer's graphical user interface.
    • Medical billing software with quick searching functions enables offices to quickly and effectively manage multiple databases worth of information.
  • 2 Mathematics A relation or expression involving one or more variables: the function (bx + c)
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    • His work is almost exclusively on calculus, in particular differential equations and functions of a real variable.
    • Then of course the relevant integrals involve odd functions, and it results that the centroid lies on the y-axis.
    • For example, the exponent b in the rate functions of the expressions in Eq. 5 was assigned a universal value.
  • 2.1A variable quantity regarded in relation to one or more other variables in terms of which it may be expressed or on which its value depends: the magnetic field has varied as a function of time
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    • Spectral analysis decomposes a variable into underlying sine and cosine functions of particular wavelengths or cycles.
    • Solving the equations of the best response functions gives expressions for equilibrium outputs.
    • He found expressions for the Bessel functions as integrals involving Legendre functions.
  • 2.2 Chemistry A functional group: the carboxyl group was replaced by functions that included tetrazolyl-, sulphonyl-, and phosphoryl-
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    • For instance, in the case of the two active stereoisomers we showed that only the stereochemistry at the amine and hydroxyl functions on the scaffold were important - the third chiral centre is not.
    • The primary function of this system is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide; secondary functions are phonation and olfaction.
    • This points to the importance of this stretch of amino acids for the function of both proteins.
  • 3A thing dependent on another factor or factors: class shame is a function of social power
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    • If one part fails, all dependent functions fail too because of the interdependencies among the components.
    • The children's flirtation with radicalism and terrorism is a function of two factors - time and opportunity.
    • Where an agency is headed by a strong and credible leader, given a clear mandate to deliver, and the power to influence the functions of other departments and agencies, success can be achieved.
    consequence, result, outcome, ramification, corollary, concomitant
    dated issue


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  • 1Work or operate in a proper or particular way: her liver is functioning normally
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    • Team efforts and long hours of work meant that the town was soon functioning normally.
    • Her kidneys are working again, but we couldn't say they are functioning normally.
    • He said the system had functioned well in the past and did not serve any specific group.
    work, go, run, be in working/running order, operate, perform, be in action, be operative
  • 1.1 (function as) Fulfil the purpose or task of (a specified thing): the museum intends to function as an educational and study centre
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    • The tree was designed for a specific purpose, but it could no longer function as a tree.
    • Boniface was also prominent in Frankish church reform and functioned as representative of the pope to the Franks.
    • The more isolated the tasks are, the more you inhibit their ability to function as a team.
    serve, act, operate, perform, work, behave; have/do the job of, play the role of, act the part of, perform the function of, do duty as, constitute, form



More example sentences
  • They are functionless things, and Rashid prefers his objects to have form and function.
  • The general consensus is that the majority of the non-coding, non-regulatory DNA is functionless (the so called ‘junk DNA’).
  • He chuckled at a perky, muff-like dog tottering along as if to remind the Swedes a British dog is what a dog is - unexpendable, functionless, highly ridiculous.


mid 16th century: from French fonction, from Latin functio(n-), from fungi 'perform'.

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