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

    ‘the function (bx + c)’
    • ‘His work was in number theory, in particular the zeta function.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, the exponent b in the rate functions of the expressions in Eq. 5 was assigned a universal value.’
    • ‘His work is almost exclusively on calculus, in particular differential equations and functions of a real variable.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then of course the relevant integrals involve odd functions, and it results that the centroid lies on the y-axis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1 A 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’
      • ‘Jacobi presented a paper concerning iterated functions to the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1825.’
      • ‘Solving the equations of the best response functions gives expressions for equilibrium outputs.’
      • ‘This work led him to the Dirichlet problem concerning harmonic functions with given boundary conditions.’
      • ‘He found expressions for the Bessel functions as integrals involving Legendre functions.’
      • ‘Spectral analysis decomposes a variable into underlying sine and cosine functions of particular wavelengths or cycles.’
    2. 2.2Chemistry A functional group.
      ‘the carboxyl group was replaced by functions that included tetrazolyl-, sulphonyl-, and phosphoryl-’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ozone is especially menacing when it reacts with molecules involved in the functions of living organisms.’
      • ‘Single-site analysis and one-dimensional window analysis can be used to detect selection when the biological functions of amino acid sites are unknown.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘The different results may be a function of cultural, social, and geographical influences.’
    • ‘ANOVA was conducted to examine whether the factors varied as a function of geographical region or section membership in CPA.’
    • ‘Anger is often a function of power and the need to dominate and control.’
    • ‘However, given the small sample size and degree of variability, it is possible that this result is a function of low statistical power.’
    • ‘The children's flirtation with radicalism and terrorism is a function of two factors - time and opportunity.’
    • ‘Obviously, its quality is partly a function of its power to persuade, but its persuasiveness is in the eye of the beholder.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thus the optimal leaf lifespan may be a function of two factors: the rate of nitrogen uptake and of PNUE reduction.’
    • ‘Actual economic results, including the goods and the bads, are a function of numerous factors and forces.’
    • ‘Because they concretely challenged the function of power rather than engage in symbolic ritual protest of it, right?’
    • ‘These factors are a function of sampling effort and sampling strategy.’
    • ‘Interference is a function of peak power, not average.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rabbinical courts throughout the rest of the world function without such powers of coercion.’
    • ‘The final decision as to whether or not to seek help is a function of all these factors.’
    • ‘If one part fails, all dependent functions fail too because of the interdependencies among the components.’
    • ‘On another level, the play chillingly shows ‘truth’ to be a function of power.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mental mindgames the three plays chillingly reveal truth to be a function of 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And since Mathilde was again pregnant, she will not have been keen to have a full diary of cultural events and social functions.’
    • ‘Some consider that it is connected with ‘high society’ and formal social functions.’
    • ‘‘Oh, he's the smart one,’ she'd say with admiration at dinner parties and social functions.’
    • ‘My husband is a university professor, and we get many invitations to dinner parties, formal gatherings, and other social functions.’
    • ‘Parties, functions, dinners and gatherings are most avoidable outings in his notebook.’
    • ‘He finds himself at various functions, meetings, ceremonies and openings, at a plethora of venues such as hospitals, colleges, sports centres and theatres.’
    • ‘They attended on the mayor at civic functions and ceremonial occasions, and sometimes played in the street at night.’
    • ‘This groundswell of patriotism has been nurtured and strengthened by political functions and religious ceremonies in remembrance of the September attacks.’
    • ‘Castlehill Catering has recently joined the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and specialises in Catering for private functions and social events.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mulchay notes that the outside area is popular with families during the summer and provides a comfortable environment for functions and social events.’
    • ‘They drive a Rolls-Royce, live at Vaucluse, attend exclusive social functions and have been lunch guests of Governor-General Mike Jeffery.’
    • ‘Besides, the members get together for occasional functions such as birthday parties and weddings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was traditionally worn by kings, queens and other great figures of state during ceremonial events and functions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The crops of spring onions, lettuce and Chinese cabbage were given free to guests at a formal function to celebrate the event on Friday.’
    • ‘If your family has formal festive functions, this one's for you.’
    social event, party, occasion, social occasion, affair, gathering, reception, soirée, celebration, jamboree, gala
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verb

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

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

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

Pronunciation

function

/ˈfʌŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n/