Definition of function in English:

function

noun

  • 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’
    • ‘One of the great things about getting older is that you become less embarrassed about your body and its natural functions.’
    • ‘In nearly all cases, the best that can be hoped for is an alternative to natural functions which is almost as good as the real thing.’
    • ‘When a breast can't perform its natural functions, many women find it difficult to accept it as part of their body.’
    • ‘What the dogs do is a natural function but where they do it is chosen by humans.’
    • ‘In both cases, the ultimate goal is to understand how suites of traits and trade-offs between competing functions respond to natural selection.’
    • ‘Today the centre is in full use with sporting activities, meetings, courses, functions and other activities such as the very successful play group.’
    • ‘These priorities will be driven by the needs of the organization, which are a function of the business purposes and current problems.’
    • ‘This bill sets out in minute detail the functions and purposes of this new entity in a way that I have never seen before.’
    • ‘According to Dr. Jose, the opening up of micro-vascular channels enhances the natural physiological functions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is on a pivotal city centre site and we do not see the two other city centre post offices performing the function.’
    • ‘There was a presentation which looked at what a Parish Pastoral Council is, its role, functions and activities.’
    • ‘But it does play on social mores and our embarrassment about natural bodily functions, albeit in a crude way.’
    • ‘The law regulates the establishment, scope, functions and the activity of the Commission on Financial Supervision.’
    • ‘Grammar is just a natural function of children's brains, and they apply it to whatever they find.’
    • ‘Apparently they have very important natural functions in the brain but, like everything else, can go awry sometimes - a bit like cells going wrong and turning into cancer.’
    • ‘New Forestry aimed to mimic natural forest functions while providing for conventional timber objectives.’
    • ‘One plus of physical stores, says Sinnreich, is that they perform educational and informational functions in ways a Web site can't duplicate.’
    • ‘Four important bodily functions are provided by the muscles of our bodies.’
    • ‘But its increased economic insularity is more likely to be a natural function of its financial predicament.’
    responsibility, duty, concern, province, aim, activity, assignment, obligation, charge
    purpose, task, use, role
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Practical use or purpose in design.
      ‘building designs that prioritize style over function’
      • ‘I'll do my best to keep the overall design and function clean and simple but I'm looking forward to getting properly to grips with the new methodology.’
      • ‘Its architecture, furniture, design, function and systems are charmingly retro.’
      • ‘The only real drawback is an interior where design has triumphed over function, as any kind of storage space is very hard to find.’
      • ‘The idea of function sounds very practical, very sensible, whereas beauty sounds a bit airy-fairy and a bit off in the clouds.’
      • ‘Hargrave believed that good function was good design and that every boat should look attractive without a lot of decoration or trim.’
      • ‘The reasons for docking originated in aesthetic design, function, early medical theory and even tax minimisation.’
      • ‘The radio controls are designed more for style than function and are awkward to use.’
      • ‘We offer a wide range, good design and function, and also low prices.’
      • ‘Motorcycle exhausts are designed with style and function in mind.’
      • ‘Constantia was designed with function and flexibility in mind.’
      • ‘Its roof can politely be described as a victory for design over function.’
      • ‘The bed - area was clearly designed for function rather than comfort.’
      • ‘This discourse of function is transparent in design, but only occasionally with art.’
      • ‘Often, the product's physical form becomes smaller, more compact, and more efficient in design function.’
      • ‘It's a case of function dictating similar design, but more of that later.’
      • ‘I also found that the mirrors appeared to be a product of design over function.’
      • ‘He stressed the importance of engineering and function in art and design courses.’
      • ‘The models presented here represent the state of the art in function, design and manufacture.’
      • ‘We're not trying to attack anybody here: We're trying to talk about the status and function of design in culture.’
      • ‘The one-piece design is no-frills, designed for function rather than beauty.’
    2. 1.2A basic task of a computer, especially one that corresponds to a single instruction from the user.
      • ‘You can actually add a button with an exit function to the user interface.’
      • ‘Method and apparatus for presenting new computer software functions to a user based upon actual usage’
      • ‘Maybe this is not exactly up to the point, but one of the Google search functions is called ‘I am feeling lucky!’’
      • ‘Control and user interface functions, if needed for a particular application can also be functionally partitioned.’
      • ‘An undo function permits users to undo the most recent configuration.’
      • ‘Many pieces lay bare digital networks: various vertical and horizontal scrolling functions on the computer screen reveal the image structure.’
      • ‘While you're able to see what each icon does, there is very little if any instructions about what these functions mean.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Each gesture performed on the touch pad corresponds to a control function.’
      • ‘Take as an example a situation where you've created a keyboard hack for your arcade controls but still need to be able to operate your computer for non-gaming functions.’
      • ‘On the right section of the taskbar are icons for general computer functions like speaker volume, clock and printer status.’
      • ‘Selection of functions lets image-processing software branch out.’
      • ‘The Deskbar has the added advantage (for Google) that you end up using Google's search functions more than you even did previously.’
      • ‘The capacity to spell and write grammatically correct sentences is abated by the availability of spell- and grammar-checking functions in word processing software.’
      • ‘The package has an invitation function, calling available users to conference and giving them the option of accepting or not.’
  • 2Mathematics
    A relation or expression involving one or more variables.

    ‘the function (bx + c)’
    • ‘Then of course the relevant integrals involve odd functions, and it results that the centroid lies on the y-axis.’
    • ‘Since most functions defined by simple algebraic expressions are differentiable, on a sufficiently fine scale the points will appear to fall on a straight line.’
    • ‘His work was in number theory, in particular the zeta function.’
    • ‘A function which expresses the relation between the coefficient of permeability and the effective stress is presented.’
    • ‘There is only one way to represent any amount as the sum of pennies which is expressed as the generating function.’
    • ‘For example, the exponent b in the rate functions of the expressions in Eq. 5 was assigned a universal value.’
    • ‘To calculate the selection coefficients, the fitness function must be expressed as a polynomial.’
    • ‘A chapter follows covering algorithms for computing key elementary functions on integers.’
    • ‘His work is almost exclusively on calculus, in particular differential equations and functions of a real variable.’
    • ‘However, the coefficients are expressed as functions of water potential thus allowing the model to be applied under all conditions of temperature and water potential.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This work led him to the Dirichlet problem concerning harmonic functions with given boundary conditions.’
      • ‘Spectral analysis decomposes a variable into underlying sine and cosine functions of particular wavelengths or cycles.’
      • ‘Jacobi presented a paper concerning iterated functions to the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1825.’
    2. 2.2Chemistry
      A functional group.
      ‘the carboxyl group was replaced by functions that included tetrazolyl-, sulphonyl-, and phosphoryl-’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ozone is especially menacing when it reacts with molecules involved in the functions of living organisms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Single-site analysis and one-dimensional window analysis can be used to detect selection when the biological functions of amino acid sites are unknown.’
  • 3A thing dependent on another factor or factors.

    ‘class shame is a function of social power’
    • ‘Thus the optimal leaf lifespan may be a function of two factors: the rate of nitrogen uptake and of PNUE reduction.’
    • ‘The children's flirtation with radicalism and terrorism is a function of two factors - time and opportunity.’
    • ‘Because they concretely challenged the function of power rather than engage in symbolic ritual protest of it, right?’
    • ‘The mental mindgames the three plays chillingly reveal truth to be a function of power.’
    • ‘Anger is often a function of power and the need to dominate and control.’
    • ‘The final decision as to whether or not to seek help is a function of all these factors.’
    • ‘These factors are a function of sampling effort and sampling strategy.’
    • ‘In this case, the Soviet nostalgia is not a function of crude economic or social factors, but of the acute sense of geo-political loss.’
    • ‘In summary, the type of deformation observed in rocks presently exposed at the Earth's surface is a function of many factors, not the least of which is the level of exposure.’
    • ‘ANOVA was conducted to examine whether the factors varied as a function of geographical region or section membership in CPA.’
    • ‘If one part fails, all dependent functions fail too because of the interdependencies among the components.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On another level, the play chillingly shows ‘truth’ to be a function of power.’
    • ‘Rabbinical courts throughout the rest of the world function without such powers of coercion.’
    • ‘It is such an enormous power, no one is going to resist its interpretation of the law, and the law therefore becomes a function of power, as it has always been.’
    • ‘Actual economic results, including the goods and the bads, are a function of numerous factors and forces.’
    • ‘The different results may be a function of cultural, social, and geographical influences.’
    • ‘Interference is a function of peak power, not average.’
    • ‘Obviously, its quality is partly a function of its power to persuade, but its persuasiveness is in the eye of the beholder.’
    • ‘However, given the small sample size and degree of variability, it is possible that this result is a function of low statistical power.’
    consequence, result, outcome, ramification, corollary, concomitant
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  • 4A large or formal social event or ceremony.

    ‘he was obliged to attend party functions’
    • ‘They drive a Rolls-Royce, live at Vaucluse, attend exclusive social functions and have been lunch guests of Governor-General Mike Jeffery.’
    • ‘Parties, functions, dinners and gatherings are most avoidable outings in his notebook.’
    • ‘Castlehill Catering has recently joined the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and specialises in Catering for private functions and social events.’
    • ‘In addition to subsistence benefits from direct consumption and trading, whale hunting and its associated components fulfilled important ceremonial and social functions for the Makah.’
    • ‘My husband is a university professor, and we get many invitations to dinner parties, formal gatherings, and other social functions.’
    • ‘If your family has formal festive functions, this one's for you.’
    • ‘Some consider that it is connected with ‘high society’ and formal social functions.’
    • ‘He recorded his thanks and appreciation to the many organisations and individuals who invited him to attend their functions or events over the last 12 months.’
    • ‘They attended on the mayor at civic functions and ceremonial occasions, and sometimes played in the street at night.’
    • ‘Apart from the blacksmith shop he also became the owner of a large assembly hall, which was used for meetings, parties and other community functions of a social nature.’
    • ‘And since Mathilde was again pregnant, she will not have been keen to have a full diary of cultural events and social functions.’
    • ‘This groundswell of patriotism has been nurtured and strengthened by political functions and religious ceremonies in remembrance of the September attacks.’
    • ‘Mulchay notes that the outside area is popular with families during the summer and provides a comfortable environment for functions and social events.’
    • ‘The crops of spring onions, lettuce and Chinese cabbage were given free to guests at a formal function to celebrate the event on Friday.’
    • ‘He finds himself at various functions, meetings, ceremonies and openings, at a plethora of venues such as hospitals, colleges, sports centres and theatres.’
    • ‘Ross, as club's co-founder and Chairman, manages the 40-strong warmwater branch, and the two sides come together for social events and other functions.’
    • ‘‘Oh, he's the smart one,’ she'd say with admiration at dinner parties and social functions.’
    • ‘It was traditionally worn by kings, queens and other great figures of state during ceremonial events and functions.’
    • ‘As we walked around to thank our supporters after the final whistle, I recognised many fans that we all knew so well through the many functions and events we attended together.’
    • ‘Besides, the members get together for occasional functions such as birthday parties and weddings.’
    social event, party, occasion, social occasion, affair, gathering, reception, soirée, celebration, jamboree, gala
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verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Work or operate in a proper or particular way.

    ‘her liver is functioning normally’
    • ‘If the Lord wants to keep you alive and functioning then he doesn't need any artificial help from mankind.’
    • ‘Of course, Egg's plans to break even depend on its Web site functioning and fully operational.’
    • ‘However, it keeps on functioning, regenerates itself, and discovers new limits.’
    • ‘The only outstanding issue is related to the archive links not functioning.’
    • ‘He said the system had functioned well in the past and did not serve any specific group.’
    • ‘My other alarm system is still functioning though, so don't think about breaking in burglars.’
    • ‘The room would be lit up and a fan also starts functioning once the cradle starts rocking.’
    • ‘Going there certainly made me understand better who we all are as people functioning in a society and a culture.’
    • ‘Secondly, make sure the technology is functioning smoothly so that candidates are not put off.’
    • ‘We are not truly functioning in the way God intended for us if we are not givers.’
    • ‘Team efforts and long hours of work meant that the town was soon functioning normally.’
    • ‘If Iraq was a deeply dysfunctional society, its sport was barely functioning.’
    • ‘But the group has been using two old laptops one of which is not functioning properly.’
    • ‘But even though her attacks could last up to three days, she could carry on functioning.’
    • ‘Fortunately for me, my poetry bone is not functioning at all just now, so there's no conflict.’
    • ‘Her kidneys had stopped functioning and she must have put on 30 pounds of fluid.’
    • ‘Great news for people who have a hunger control switch that is functioning well in the brain.’
    • ‘Her kidneys are working again, but we couldn't say they are functioning normally.’
    • ‘It's hard enough to read that theatrical prose when my brain is functioning.’
    • ‘Our engines have ceased functioning and we will attempt an emergency landing.’
    work, go, run, be in running order, be in working order, operate, perform, be in action, be operative
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    1. 1.1Fulfil the purpose or task of (a specified thing)
      ‘the museum intends to function as an educational and study centre’
      • ‘All of this is to say that the new digital environment functions as, well, a web.’
      • ‘The more isolated the tasks are, the more you inhibit their ability to function as a team.’
      • ‘What I didn't know then was that this form of prejudice functioned as a way to express the values I had grown up with.’
      • ‘In former times local headmen functioned as war chiefs, but paramount chiefs over various local communities were absent.’
      • ‘This executive branch of government never functions as accurate and honest mirrors of the president.’
      • ‘It functions as a summerhouse and office with attached potting shed.’
      • ‘Most recently I functioned as opponent in a PhD thesis at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris’
      • ‘This joint thus functions as a tapas bar, but replaces typical tapas dishes with North African panache.’
      • ‘Although hydrogen peroxide functions as a disinfectant, it contains toxins harmful to the health.’
      • ‘Boniface was also prominent in Frankish church reform and functioned as representative of the pope to the Franks.’
      • ‘There is an excellent listing of the large number of ways in which environmentalism functions as a religion here.’
      • ‘A permanent body that functions as an external examination institute is still only wishful thinking.’
      • ‘The tree was designed for a specific purpose, but it could no longer function as a tree.’
      • ‘It is an installation, which means that the artwork functions as the whole room.’
      • ‘She accompanies the bride to her new home and functions as a companion, adviser and confidante.’
      • ‘This gadget not only controls the presence of employees but also functions as a security device.’
      • ‘The London Underground functioned as a series of bomb shelters during the Blitz of World War II.’
      • ‘His odyssey functions as a satire of the war, the leaders, and the army.’
      • ‘American Jews found themselves notable in the history of the Jewish diaspora in that they never functioned as their nation's most stigmatized group.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

function

/ˈfʌŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n/