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Webster 1913 Edition


Function

Func′tion

,
Noun.
[L.
functio
, fr.
fungi
to perform, execute, akin to Skr.
bhuj
to enjoy, have the use of: cf. F.
fonction
. Cf.
Defunct
.]
1.
The act of executing or performing any duty, office, or calling; performance.
“In the function of his public calling.”
Swift.
2.
(Physiol.)
The appropriate action of any special organ or part of an animal or vegetable organism;
as, the
function
of the heart or the limbs; the
function
of leaves, sap, roots, etc.; life is the sum of the
functions
of the various organs and parts of the body.
3.
The natural or assigned action of any power or faculty, as of the soul, or of the intellect; the exertion of an energy of some determinate kind.
As the mind opens, and its
functions
spread.
Pope.
4.
The course of action which peculiarly pertains to any public officer in church or state; the activity appropriate to any business or profession.
Tradesmen . . . going about their
functions
.
Shakespeare
The malady which made him incapable of performing his
regal
functions.
Macaulay.
5.
(Math.)
A quantity so connected with another quantity, that if any alteration be made in the latter there will be a consequent alteration in the former. Each quantity is said to be a function of the other. Thus, the circumference of a circle is a function of the diameter. If x be a symbol to which different numerical values can be assigned, such expressions as x
2
, 3
x
, Log. x, and Sin. x, are all
functions
of x.

Webster 1828 Edition


Function

FUNC'TION

,
Noun.
[L. functio, from fungor, to perform.]
1.
In a general sense, the doing, executing or performing of any thing; discharge; performance; as the function of a calling or office. More generally,
2.
Office or employment, or any duty or business belonging to a particular station or character, or required of a person in the station or character. Thus we speak of the functions of a chancellor, judge or bishop; the functions of a parent or guardian.
3.
Trade; occupation. [Less proper.]
4.
The office of any particular part of animal bodies; the peculiar or appropriate action of a member or part of the body, by which the animal economy is carried on. Thus we speak of the functions of the brain and nerves, of the heart, of the liver, of the muscles, &c.
5.
Power; faculty, animal or intellectual.
As the mind opens, and its functions spread.
6.
In mathematics, the function of a variable quantity, is any algebraic expression into which that quantity enters, mixed with other quantities that have invariable values.

Definition 2022


function

function

English

Noun

function (plural functions)

  1. What something does or is used for.
    • 2013 May-June, Katrina G. Claw, Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.
  2. A professional or official position.
  3. An official or social occasion.
  4. A relation where one thing is dependent on another for its existence, value, or significance.
  5. (mathematics) A relation in which each element of the domain is associated with exactly one element of the codomain.
  6. (computing) A routine that receives zero or more arguments and may return a result.
  7. (biology) The physiological activity of an organ or body part.
  8. (chemistry) The characteristic behavior of a chemical compound.
  9. (anthropology) The role of a social practice in the continued existence of the group.

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Translations

Verb

function (third-person singular simple present functions, present participle functioning, simple past and past participle functioned)

  1. (intransitive) to have a function
  2. (intransitive) to carry on a function; to be in action

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Middle French

Noun

function f (plural functions)

  1. function (what something's intended use is)

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