[fuhngk-shuh n] /ˈfʌŋk ʃən/

the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
any ceremonious public or social gathering or occasion.
a factor related to or dependent upon other factors:
Price is a function of supply and demand.



Sociology. the contribution made by a sociocultural phenomenon to an ongoing social system.
verb (used without object)
to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate:
The computer isn’t functioning now. He rarely functions before noon.
to have or exercise a function; serve:
In earlier English the present tense often functioned as a future. This orange crate can function as a chair.
the natural action or intended purpose of a person or thing in a specific role: the function of a hammer is to hit nails into wood
an official or formal social gathering or ceremony
a factor dependent upon another or other factors: the length of the flight is a function of the weather
(maths, logic) Also called map, mapping. a relation between two sets that associates a unique element (the value) of the second (the range) with each element (the argument) of the first (the domain): a many-one relation. Symbol: f(x) The value of f(x) for x = 2 is f(2)
verb (intransitive)
to operate or perform as specified; work properly
(foll by as) to perform the action or role (of something or someone else): a coin may function as a screwdriver

1530s, “proper work or purpose,” from Middle French fonction (16c.) and directly from Latin functionem (nominative functio) “performance, execution,” noun of action from functus, past participle of fungi “perform, execute, discharge,” from PIE root *bheug- (2) “to use, enjoy” (see brook (v.)). Use in mathematics probably begun by Leibnitz (1692).

1856, from function (n.). Related: Functioned; functioning.

function func·tion (fŭngk’shən)


In mathematics, a quantity whose value is determined by the value of some other quantity. For example, “The yield of this field is a function of the amount of fertilizer applied” means that a given amount of fertilizer will yield an amount of whatever crop is growing.


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