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From Middle French function, from Old French fonction, from Latin functionem, accusative of functiō (performance, execution), from functus perfect participle of fungor (I perform, I execute, I discharge).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfʌŋ(k)ʃən/, /ˈfʌŋkʃn̩/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfʌŋkʃən/, [ˈfʌŋkʃɪ̈n], [ˈfʌŋkʃn̩]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: func‧tion
  • Rhymes: -ʌŋkʃən


function (plural functions)

  1. What something does or is used for.
    • 2013 May-June, Katrina G. Claw, “Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.
    Synonyms: aim, intention, purpose, role, use
  2. A professional or official position.
    Synonyms: occupation, office, part, role
  3. An official or social occasion.
    Synonyms: affair, occasion, social occasion, social function
  4. A relation where one thing is dependent on another for its existence, value, or significance.
  5. (mathematics) A relation in which each element of the domain is associated with exactly one element of the codomain.
    Synonyms: map, mapping, mathematical function, operator, transformation
    Hypernym: relation
  6. (computing) A routine that receives zero or more arguments and may return a result.
    Synonyms: procedure, routine, subprogram, subroutine, func, funct
  7. (biology) The physiological activity of an organ or body part.
  8. (chemistry) The characteristic behavior of a chemical compound.
  9. (anthropology) The role of a social practice in the continued existence of the group.


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function (third-person singular simple present functions, present participle functioning, simple past and past participle functioned)

  1. (intransitive) To have a function.
    Synonyms: officiate, serve
  2. (intransitive) To carry out a function; to be in action.
    Synonyms: go, operate, run, work
    Antonym: malfunction

Related termsEdit


Middle FrenchEdit


function f (plural functions)

  1. function (what something's intended use is)