Meaning of FUNCTION in English

I. ˈfəŋ(k)-shən noun

Etymology: Latin function-, functio performance, from fungi to perform; probably akin to Sanskrit bhuṅkte he enjoys

Date: 1533

1. : professional or official position : occupation

2. : the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists : purpose

3. : any of a group of related actions contributing to a larger action ; especially : the normal and specific contribution of a bodily part to the economy of a living organism

4. : an official or formal ceremony or social gathering


a. : a mathematical correspondence that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set

b. : a variable (as a quality, trait, or measurement) that depends on and varies with another

height is a function of age

also : result

illnesses that are a function of stress

6. : characteristic behavior of a chemical compound due to a particular reactive unit ; also : functional group

7. : a computer subroutine ; specifically : one that performs a calculation with variables provided by a program and supplies the program with a single result

• func·tion·less -ləs adjective


function , office , duty , province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing. function implies a definite end or purpose that the one in question serves or a particular kind of work it is intended to perform

the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information — Aldous Huxley

office is typically applied to the function or service expected of a person by reason of a trade or profession or a special relationship to others

they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor — W. E. Gladstone

duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling

it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case — R. B. Taney

province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one

I felt it was not my province to inquire — Anne Brontë

II. intransitive verb

( func·tioned ; func·tion·ing -sh(ə-)niŋ)

Date: 1856

1. : to have a function : serve

an attributive noun function s as an adjective

2. : to carry on a function or be in action : operate

a government function s through numerous divisions

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.