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’
    • ‘But its increased economic insularity is more likely to be a natural function of its financial predicament.’
    • ‘The law regulates the establishment, scope, functions and the activity of the Commission on Financial Supervision.’
    • ‘One plus of physical stores, says Sinnreich, is that they perform educational and informational functions in ways a Web site can't duplicate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of the great things about getting older is that you become less embarrassed about your body and its natural 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.’
    • ‘According to Dr. Jose, the opening up of micro-vascular channels enhances the natural physiological functions.’
    • ‘But it does play on social mores and our embarrassment about natural bodily functions, albeit in a crude way.’
    • ‘Grammar is just a natural function of children's brains, and they apply it to whatever they find.’
    • ‘In both cases, the ultimate goal is to understand how suites of traits and trade-offs between competing functions respond to natural selection.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘New Forestry aimed to mimic natural forest functions while providing for conventional timber objectives.’
    • ‘What the dogs do is a natural function but where they do it is chosen by humans.’
    • ‘When a breast can't perform its natural functions, many women find it difficult to accept it as part of their body.’
    • ‘Today the centre is in full use with sporting activities, meetings, courses, functions and other activities such as the very successful play group.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a presentation which looked at what a Parish Pastoral Council is, its role, functions and activities.’
    • ‘Four important bodily functions are provided by the muscles of our bodies.’
    • ‘It is on a pivotal city centre site and we do not see the two other city centre post offices performing the function.’
    • ‘These priorities will be driven by the needs of the organization, which are a function of the business purposes and current problems.’
    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’
      • ‘The models presented here represent the state of the art in function, design and manufacture.’
      • ‘Its roof can politely be described as a victory for design over function.’
      • ‘It's a case of function dictating similar design, but more of that later.’
      • ‘The radio controls are designed more for style than function and are awkward to use.’
      • ‘The reasons for docking originated in aesthetic design, function, early medical theory and even tax minimisation.’
      • ‘The only real drawback is an interior where design has triumphed over function, as any kind of storage space is very hard to find.’
      • ‘Often, the product's physical form becomes smaller, more compact, and more efficient in design function.’
      • ‘Constantia was designed with function and flexibility in mind.’
      • ‘Motorcycle exhausts are designed with style and function in mind.’
      • ‘The idea of function sounds very practical, very sensible, whereas beauty sounds a bit airy-fairy and a bit off in the clouds.’
      • ‘Its architecture, furniture, design, function and systems are charmingly retro.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He stressed the importance of engineering and function in art and design courses.’
      • ‘The one-piece design is no-frills, designed for function rather than beauty.’
      • ‘The bed - area was clearly designed for function rather than comfort.’
      • ‘We're not trying to attack anybody here: We're trying to talk about the status and function of design in culture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 A basic task of a computer, especially one that corresponds to a single instruction from the user.
      • ‘On the right section of the taskbar are icons for general computer functions like speaker volume, clock and printer status.’
      • ‘Many pieces lay bare digital networks: various vertical and horizontal scrolling functions on the computer screen reveal the image structure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Method and apparatus for presenting new computer software functions to a user based upon actual usage’
      • ‘Control and user interface functions, if needed for a particular application can also be functionally partitioned.’
      • ‘While you're able to see what each icon does, there is very little if any instructions about what these functions mean.’
      • ‘The Deskbar has the added advantage (for Google) that you end up using Google's search functions more than you even did previously.’
      • ‘The package has an invitation function, calling available users to conference and giving them the option of accepting or not.’
      • ‘Each gesture performed on the touch pad corresponds to a control function.’
      • ‘Maybe this is not exactly up to the point, but one of the Google search functions is called ‘I am feeling lucky!’’
      • ‘An icon is a graphic image that represents an available function on a computer's graphical user interface.’
      • ‘You can actually add a button with an exit function to the user interface.’
      • ‘The capacity to spell and write grammatically correct sentences is abated by the availability of spell- and grammar-checking functions in word processing software.’
      • ‘Selection of functions lets image-processing software branch out.’
      • ‘An undo function permits users to undo the most recent configuration.’
      • ‘Medical billing software with quick searching functions enables offices to quickly and effectively manage multiple databases worth of information.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘There is only one way to represent any amount as the sum of pennies which is expressed as the generating 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.’
    • ‘A function which expresses the relation between the coefficient of permeability and the effective stress is presented.’
    • ‘To calculate the selection coefficients, the fitness function must be expressed as a polynomial.’
    • ‘His work is almost exclusively on calculus, in particular differential equations and functions of a real variable.’
    • ‘For example, the exponent b in the rate functions of the expressions in Eq. 5 was assigned a universal value.’
    • ‘Then of course the relevant integrals involve odd functions, and it results that the centroid lies on the y-axis.’
    • ‘A chapter follows covering algorithms for computing key elementary functions on integers.’
    • ‘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. 2.1 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Solving the equations of the best response functions gives expressions for equilibrium outputs.’
    2. 2.2Chemistry A functional group.
      ‘the carboxyl group was replaced by functions that included tetrazolyl-, sulphonyl-, and phosphoryl-’
      • ‘Single-site analysis and one-dimensional window analysis can be used to detect selection when the biological functions of amino acid sites are unknown.’
      • ‘Ozone is especially menacing when it reacts with molecules involved in the functions of living organisms.’
      • ‘The primary function of this system is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide; secondary functions are phonation and olfaction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The children's flirtation with radicalism and terrorism is a function of two factors - time and opportunity.’
    • ‘Anger is often a function of power and the need to dominate and control.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On another level, the play chillingly shows ‘truth’ to be a function of power.’
    • ‘ANOVA was conducted to examine whether the factors varied as a function of geographical region or section membership in CPA.’
    • ‘However, given the small sample size and degree of variability, it is possible that this result is a function of low statistical power.’
    • ‘The different results may be a function of cultural, social, and geographical influences.’
    • ‘These factors are a function of sampling effort and sampling strategy.’
    • ‘Obviously, its quality is partly a function of its power to persuade, but its persuasiveness is in the eye of the beholder.’
    • ‘Rabbinical courts throughout the rest of the world function without such powers of coercion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If one part fails, all dependent functions fail too because of the interdependencies among the components.’
    • ‘Interference is a function of peak power, not average.’
    • ‘The mental mindgames the three plays chillingly reveal truth to be a function of power.’
    • ‘The final decision as to whether or not to seek help is a function of all these factors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Because they concretely challenged the function of power rather than engage in symbolic ritual protest of it, right?’
    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’
    • ‘The crops of spring onions, lettuce and Chinese cabbage were given free to guests at a formal function to celebrate the event on Friday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And since Mathilde was again pregnant, she will not have been keen to have a full diary of cultural events and social functions.’
    • ‘Parties, functions, dinners and gatherings are most avoidable outings in his notebook.’
    • ‘They attended on the mayor at civic functions and ceremonial occasions, and sometimes played in the street at night.’
    • ‘My husband is a university professor, and we get many invitations to dinner parties, formal gatherings, and other social functions.’
    • ‘They drive a Rolls-Royce, live at Vaucluse, attend exclusive social functions and have been lunch guests of Governor-General Mike Jeffery.’
    • ‘This groundswell of patriotism has been nurtured and strengthened by political functions and religious ceremonies in remembrance of the September attacks.’
    • ‘‘Oh, he's the smart one,’ she'd say with admiration at dinner parties and social functions.’
    • ‘He finds himself at various functions, meetings, ceremonies and openings, at a plethora of venues such as hospitals, colleges, sports centres and theatres.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If your family has formal festive functions, this one's for you.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mulchay notes that the outside area is popular with families during the summer and provides a comfortable environment for functions and social events.’
    • ‘Besides, the members get together for occasional functions such as birthday parties and weddings.’
    • ‘Castlehill Catering has recently joined the Ballina Chamber of Commerce and specialises in Catering for private functions and social events.’
    • ‘It was traditionally worn by kings, queens and other great figures of state during ceremonial events and functions.’
    • ‘Some consider that it is connected with ‘high society’ and formal social 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.’
    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’
    • ‘He said the system had functioned well in the past and did not serve any specific group.’
    • ‘Our engines have ceased functioning and we will attempt an emergency landing.’
    • ‘The room would be lit up and a fan also starts functioning once the cradle starts rocking.’
    • ‘Of course, Egg's plans to break even depend on its Web site functioning and fully operational.’
    • ‘Great news for people who have a hunger control switch that is functioning well in the brain.’
    • ‘Fortunately for me, my poetry bone is not functioning at all just now, so there's no conflict.’
    • ‘However, it keeps on functioning, regenerates itself, and discovers new limits.’
    • ‘My other alarm system is still functioning though, so don't think about breaking in burglars.’
    • ‘We are not truly functioning in the way God intended for us if we are not givers.’
    • ‘It's hard enough to read that theatrical prose when my brain is functioning.’
    • ‘Team efforts and long hours of work meant that the town was soon functioning normally.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her kidneys are working again, but we couldn't say they are functioning normally.’
    • ‘Her kidneys had stopped functioning and she must have put on 30 pounds of fluid.’
    • ‘The only outstanding issue is related to the archive links not functioning.’
    • ‘But even though her attacks could last up to three days, she could carry on functioning.’
    • ‘If Iraq was a deeply dysfunctional society, its sport was barely functioning.’
    • ‘Going there certainly made me understand better who we all are as people functioning in a society and a culture.’
    • ‘But the group has been using two old laptops one of which is not functioning properly.’
    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’
      • ‘All of this is to say that the new digital environment functions as, well, a web.’
      • ‘This gadget not only controls the presence of employees but also functions as a security device.’
      • ‘A permanent body that functions as an external examination institute is still only wishful thinking.’
      • ‘Although hydrogen peroxide functions as a disinfectant, it contains toxins harmful to the health.’
      • ‘It functions as a summerhouse and office with attached potting shed.’
      • ‘The tree was designed for a specific purpose, but it could no longer function as a tree.’
      • ‘Most recently I functioned as opponent in a PhD thesis at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris’
      • ‘This executive branch of government never functions as accurate and honest mirrors of the president.’
      • ‘His odyssey functions as a satire of the war, the leaders, and the army.’
      • ‘Boniface was also prominent in Frankish church reform and functioned as representative of the pope to the Franks.’
      • ‘She accompanies the bride to her new home and functions as a companion, adviser and confidante.’
      • ‘This joint thus functions as a tapas bar, but replaces typical tapas dishes with North African panache.’
      • ‘There is an excellent listing of the large number of ways in which environmentalism functions as a religion here.’
      • ‘It is an installation, which means that the artwork functions as the whole room.’
      • ‘In former times local headmen functioned as war chiefs, but paramount chiefs over various local communities were absent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘American Jews found themselves notable in the history of the Jewish diaspora in that they never functioned as their nation's most stigmatized group.’
      • ‘The London Underground functioned as a series of bomb shelters during the Blitz of World War II.’
      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/