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function

[fuhngk-shuh n] /ˈfʌŋk ʃən/
noun
1.
the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
2.
any ceremonious public or social gathering or occasion.
3.
a factor related to or dependent upon other factors:
Price is a function of supply and demand.
4.
Mathematics.
  1. Also called correspondence, map, mapping, transformation. a relation between two sets in which one element of the second set is assigned to each element of the first set, as the expression y = x 2 ; operator.
  2. Also called multiple-value function. a relation between two sets in which two or more elements of the second set are assigned to each element of the first set, as y 2 = x 2 , which assigns to every x the two values y = + x and y = − x.
  3. a set of ordered pairs in which none of the first elements of the pairs appears twice.
5.
Geometry.
  1. a formula expressing a relation between the angles of a triangle and its sides, as sine or cosine.
  2. hyperbolic function.
6.
Grammar.
  1. the grammatical role a linguistic form has or the position it occupies in a particular construction.
  2. the grammatical roles or the positions of a linguistic form or form class collectively.
7.
Sociology. the contribution made by a sociocultural phenomenon to an ongoing social system.
verb (used without object)
8.
to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate:
The computer isn't functioning now. He rarely functions before noon.
9.
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.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Latin functiōn- (stem of functiō) a performance, execution, equivalent to funct(us) (past participle of fungī) performed, executed + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
interfunction, adjective
multifunction, adjective
nonfunctioning, adjective
overfunctioning, adjective
prefunction, noun
refunction, verb (used without object)
subfunction, noun
superfunction, noun
unfunctioning, adjective
well-functioning, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for function
  • Derivatives are contracts intended to perform the financially useful function of spreading risk.
  • WoW's power and appeal has been in part a function of freedom of choice.
  • Usually, engineers start with a function they wish to perform, and design a structure to do the job.
  • The aesthetic function is always inextricably entangled with social and cultural habits.
  • As it turns out, gossip serves a useful social function in bonding group members together.
  • They usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes.
  • Since then it has been the fastest-growing new function, and the study of it the fastest-growing new discipline.
  • There is no need here for involved rhyming and qualifying clauses--that is the function of the music.
  • But the losses those other firms face should not prevent them from continuing to function and cause their demise as well.
  • Some anthropologists have suggested that even the earliest shoes may have served a more symbolic than protective function.
British Dictionary definitions for function

function

/ˈfʌŋkʃən/
noun
1.
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
2.
an official or formal social gathering or ceremony
3.
a factor dependent upon another or other factors: the length of the flight is a function of the weather
4.
(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)
5.
to operate or perform as specified; work properly
6.
(foll by as) to perform the action or role (of something or someone else): a coin may function as a screwdriver
Derived Forms
functionless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin functiō, from fungī to perform, discharge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for function
n.

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).

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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function in Medicine

function func·tion (fŭngk'shən)
n.

  1. The physiological property or the special action of an organ or a body part.

  2. Something closely related to another thing and dependent on it for its existence, value, or significance, such as growth resulting from nutrition.

  3. A mathematical variable so related to another that for each value assumed by one there is a value determined for the other.

  4. A rule of correspondence between two sets such that there is a unique element in the second set assigned to each element in the first set.

  5. The general properties of a substance, depending on its chemical character and relation to other substances, that provide the basis upon which it may be grouped as among acids or bases.

  6. A particular reactive grouping in a molecule.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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function in Science
function
  (fŭngk'shən)   
  1. A relationship between two sets that matches each member of the first set with a unique member of the second set. Functions are often expressed as an equation, such as y = x + 5, meaning that y is a function of x such that for any value of x, the value of y will be 5 greater than x.

  2. A quantity whose value depends on the value given to one or more related quantities. For example, the area of a square is a function of the length of its sides.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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function in Culture

function definition


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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
function in Technology


1. (Or "map", "mapping") If D and C are sets (the domain and codomain) then a function f from D to C, normally written "f : D -> C" is a subset of D x C such that:
1. For each d in D there exists some c in C such that (d,c) is an element of f. I.e. the function is defined for every element of D.
2. For each d in D, c1 and c2 in C, if both (d,c1) and (d,c2) are elements of f then c1 = c2. I.e. the function is uniquely defined for every element of D.
See also image, inverse, partial function.
2. Computing usage derives from the mathematical term but is much less strict. In programming (except in functional programming), a function may return different values each time it is called with the same argument values and may have side effects.
A procedure is a function which returns no value but has only side-effects. The C language, for example, has no procedures, only functions. ANSI C even defines a type, void, for the result of a function that has no result.
(1996-09-01)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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