function word

noun
a word, as a preposition, article, auxiliary, or pronoun, that chiefly expresses grammatical relationships, has little semantic content of its own, and belongs to a small, closed class of words whose membership is relatively fixed (distinguished from content word ).
Also called form word.


Origin:
1935–40

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World English Dictionary
function word
 
n
grammar content word Compare grammatical meaning a word, such as the, with a particular grammatical role but little identifiable meaning

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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