Meaning of FUNCTION in English

I. func ‧ tion 1 S3 W1 AC /ˈfʌŋkʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ function , ↑ functionality ; verb : ↑ function ; adverb : ↑ functionally ; adjective : ↑ functional ]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: functio , from fungi 'to perform' ]

1 . [uncountable and countable] the purpose that something has, or the job that someone or something does

perform/fulfil a function

In your new job you will perform a variety of functions.

The church fulfils a valuable social function.

The nervous system regulates our bodily functions (=eating, breathing, going to the toilet etc) .

Bauhaus architects thought that function was more important than form.

2 . [countable] a large party or official event:

This room may be hired for weddings and other functions.

3 . [countable usually singular] technical a quantity or quality whose value changes according to another quantity or quality that is related to it:

The degree of drought is largely a function of temperature and drainage.

4 . [countable] one of the basic operations performed by a computer

• • •


▪ party a social event when a lot of people meet together to enjoy themselves by eating, drinking, dancing etc:

We’re having a party for Sarah’s 40th birthday.


I met my boyfriend at a party.

▪ get-together an informal party:

Christmas is the perfect time for a family get-together.

▪ ball a large formal party where people dance:

the end of term ball

▪ rave a large party which is held outside or in an empty building, where people dance to music and take illegal drugs

▪ reception a large formal party, especially one after a wedding or to welcome an important person:

The wedding reception is at a nearby hotel.


a reception for the Thai Foreign Minister


They attended a White House reception to mark the Queen’s visit.

▪ function a large formal or official party:

He has been asked to play at many corporate functions (=an official party held by a company) .

▪ celebration a party or special event that is organized in order to celebrate something:

the country’s 50th anniversary celebrations


It was a 21st birthday celebration which Mary would never forget.

▪ bash informal a party, especially a big one that a lot of famous people go to – used especially in journalism:

the star’s birthday bash


a picture of him at a Hollywood bash


a showbiz bash

▪ do British English informal a party:

We’re having a do to celebrate Margaret’s birthday.

▪ dinner party a party where people are invited to someone’s house for an evening meal:

I met him at a dinner party.

▪ house-warming (party) a party that you have when you move into a new house:

We’re having a house-warming next week.

▪ cocktail party ( also drinks party British English ) a party that people go to in order to talk and have a drink together for a few hours

▪ fancy-dress party British English , costume party American English a party where people dress in special clothes, for example to look like a famous person or a character in a story

▪ hen party especially British English a social event just before a wedding, for a woman who is getting married and her female friends

▪ stag night British English , bachelor party American English a social event just before a wedding, for a man who is getting married and his male friends

▪ baby/wedding shower American English an event at which people give presents to a woman who is going to have a baby or get married

II. function 2 AC BrE AmE verb [intransitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ function , ↑ functionality ; verb : ↑ function ; adverb : ↑ functionally ; adjective : ↑ functional ]

1 . to work in the correct or intended way SYN operate

function normally/correctly/properly etc

Flights in and out of Taipei are functioning normally again.

Her legs have now ceased to function.

You know I can’t function (=cannot perform normal activities) without a coffee in the morning.


In everyday English, people usually say that something works rather than functions :

If the system is working as it should, you’ll be paid within two weeks.

2 . if something functions in a particular way, it works in that way:

an understanding of how the economy functions

function as something phrasal verb

if something functions as a particular thing, it does what that type of thing normally does, or is used as that thing:

A library is functioning as a temporary hospital to cope with casualties.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.