Definition of functional in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfʌŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n(ə)l/


1Of or having a special activity, purpose, or task: a functional role
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  • Communications system for establishing a communication channel on the basis of a functional role or task
  • Clinical activities may be best understood by delimiting functional tasks as the episodes of interest.
  • The first is to turn learning into an entirely functional activity geared towards the perceived needs of the workplace.
1.1Relating to the way in which something works or operates: there are important functional differences between left and right brain
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  • Indeed, their organisations have succeeded where most NGOs and voluntary groups usually fail: preserving functional unity despite differences.
  • Although the two works share many formal aspects, there remain fundamental functional differences.
  • The functional differences between the two genes are discussed with respect to their possible history in these two fungi, which are very distant in terms of evolution.
1.2(Of a disease) affecting the operation, rather than the structure, of an organ: functional diarrhoea
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  • The challenge is to reliably sift out and satisfactorily reassure the 40% with functional disease without missing those with more serious pathology.
  • Malnutrition, typhus, tuberculosis, sepsis, and universal diarrhoea (probably functional rather than infective) were rife.
  • Patients with predominant epigastric pain without peptic ulcer disease or oesophagitis have functional dyspepsia.
1.3(Of a mental illness) having no discernible organic cause: functional psychosis
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  • The cases have been described as either a ‘toxic psychosis’ or a functional psychosis.
  • This discussion focuses on the acute treatment of functional psychosis.
  • The main differential diagnosis of delirium is from a functional psychosis (such as schizophrenia and manic depression) and from dementia.
2Designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive: a small, functional bathroom
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  • Once again, Pearl Izumi has designed a functional and attractive article of clothing that is not only great on the bike but in other uses as well.
  • That is, sites that are attractive, practical, functional, and interesting.
  • It's an attractive and functional design and a excellent exemplar of public art.
practical, useful, utilitarian, utility, workaday, serviceable;
minimalist, plain, simple, basic;
severe, spartan, ascetic, bare, modest, unadorned, undecorated, unornamented, unembellished, unostentatious, uncluttered, unfussy, without frills;
impersonal, characterless, soulless, colourless, institutional, antiseptic, clinical
informal no frills
3In operation; working: the museum will be fully functional from the opening of the festival
More example sentences
  • Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the contrast between this flamboyant style and some of the more functional, if effective, tactics employed by Europe's top sides.
  • In fact, an attack may have no functional effect either - it may create directly an operational effect on the decisionmaker.
  • The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is uninspiring, but completely functional and effective for a dialogue-driven feature.
working, in working order, functioning, effective, usable, in service, in use;
going, running, operative, operating, in operation, in commission, in action
informal up and running
4 Mathematics Relating to a variable quantity whose value depends upon one or more other variables: using functional notation, we can write—where L is the transactions demand for money
More example sentences
  • The author has succeeded in writing a book understandable to readers with very little knowledge of functional analysis and topological vector spaces.
  • He did publish a number of papers, however, which arose through the various courses such as algebraic topology, functional analysis, and geometry, which he taught.
  • How can we relate complex analysis, higher-dimensional geometry, functional analysis, and set theory to the forms of perception?

Words that rhyme with functional

conjunctional, cross-functional, dysfunctional, multifunctional

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: func|tion¦al

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