function

In the old "Schoolhouse Rock" song, "Conjunction junction, what's your function?," the word function means, "What does a conjunction do?" The famous design dictum "form follows function" tells us that an object's design should reflect what it does.

Function is one of those words that gets used a lot and means lots of different things. It means what something does, but also what a person does, whether something or someone is doing what they should, and crazily enough, a big party. "Your function is to bring the senator coffee at the political function. He cannot function without it."

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: function

1
nv
what something is used for
serve a purpose, role, or function
2
n
a relation such that one thing is dependent on another
3
n
a formal or official social gathering or ceremony
4
n
a set sequence of steps, part of larger computer program
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: function
1

n what something is used for

“the function of an auger is to bore holes”
Synonyms:
purpose, role, use
Types:
raison d'etre
the purpose that justifies a thing's existence
Type of:
usefulness, utility
the quality of being of practical use

n the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group

“the function of a teacher”
Synonyms:
office, part, role
Types:
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capacity
a specified function
hat
an informal term for a person's role
portfolio
the role of the head of a government department
lieu, place, position, stead
the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another
second fiddle
a secondary role or function
behalf
as the agent of or on someone's part (usually expressed as "on behalf of" rather than "in behalf of")
Type of:
duty
work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons

v serve a purpose, role, or function

“The table functions as a desk”
Synonyms:
serve
serve, service
be used by; as of a utility
Types:
prelude
serve as a prelude or opening to
act as
function as or act like
Type of:
answer, do, serve, suffice
be sufficient; be adequate, either in quality or quantity

v perform as expected when applied

Synonyms:
go, operate, run, work
run
be operating, running or functioning
work
operate in or through
Antonyms:
malfunction, misfunction
fail to function or function improperly
Types:
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double
do double duty; serve two purposes or have two functions
roll
begin operating or running
run
be operating, running or functioning
cut
function as a cutting instrument
serve, service
be used by; as of a utility

v perform duties attached to a particular office or place or function

Synonyms:
officiate
Type of:
serve
do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function
2

n a relation such that one thing is dependent on another

“height is a function of age”
“price is a function of supply and demand”
Type of:
relation
an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together

n (mathematics) a mathematical relation such that each element of a given set (the domain of the function) is associated with an element of another set (the range of the function)

Synonyms:
map, mapping, mathematical function, single-valued function
Types:
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multinomial, polynomial
a mathematical function that is the sum of a number of terms
expansion
a function expressed as a sum or product of terms
inverse function
a function obtained by expressing the dependent variable of one function as the independent variable of another; f and g are inverse functions if f(x)=y and g(y)=x
Kronecker delta
a function of two variables i and j that equals 1 when i=j and equals 0 otherwise
metric, metric function
a function of a topological space that gives, for any two points in the space, a value equal to the distance between them
transformation
(mathematics) a function that changes the position or direction of the axes of a coordinate system
isometry
a one-to-one mapping of one metric space into another metric space that preserves the distances between each pair of points
operator
(mathematics) a symbol or function representing a mathematical operation
circular function, trigonometric function
function of an angle expressed as a ratio of the length of the sides of right-angled triangle containing the angle
threshold function
a function that takes the value 1 if a specified function of the arguments exceeds a given threshold and 0 otherwise
exponential, exponential function
a function in which an independent variable appears as an exponent
biquadratic, biquadratic polynomial, quartic polynomial
a polynomial of the fourth degree
homogeneous polynomial
a polynomial consisting of terms all of the same degree
monic polynomial
a polynomial in one variable
quadratic, quadratic polynomial
a polynomial of the second degree
series
(mathematics) the sum of a finite or infinite sequence of expressions
reflection
(mathematics) a transformation in which the direction of one axis is reversed
rotation
(mathematics) a transformation in which the coordinate axes are rotated by a fixed angle about the origin
translation
(mathematics) a transformation in which the origin of the coordinate system is moved to another position but the direction of each axis remains the same
affine transformation
(mathematics) a transformation that is a combination of single transformations such as translation or rotation or reflection on an axis
linear operator
an operator that obeys the distributive law: A(f+g) = Af + Ag (where f and g are functions)
identity, identity element, identity operator
an operator that leaves unchanged the element on which it operates
sin, sine
ratio of the length of the side opposite the given angle to the length of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle
arc sine, arcsin, arcsine, inverse sine
the inverse function of the sine; the angle that has a sine equal to a given number
cos, cosine
ratio of the adjacent side to the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle
arc cosine, arccos, arccosine, inverse cosine
the inverse function of the cosine; the angle that has a cosine equal to a given number
tan, tangent
ratio of the opposite to the adjacent side of a right-angled triangle
arc tangent, arctan, arctangent, inverse tangent
the inverse function of the tangent; the angle that has a tangent equal to a given number
cotan, cotangent
ratio of the adjacent to the opposite side of a right-angled triangle
arc cotangent, arccotangent, inverse cotangent
the inverse function of the cotangent; the angle that has a cotangent equal to a given number
sec, secant
ratio of the hypotenuse to the adjacent side of a right-angled triangle
arc secant, arcsec, arcsecant, inverse secant
the inverse function of the secant; the angle that has a secant equal to a given number
cosec, cosecant
ratio of the hypotenuse to the opposite side of a right-angled triangle
arc cosecant, arccosecant, inverse cosecant
the angle that has a cosecant equal to a given number
Type of:
mathematical relation
a relation between mathematical expressions (such as equality or inequality)
3

n a formal or official social gathering or ceremony

“it was a black-tie function
Type of:
social affair, social gathering
a gathering for the purpose of promoting fellowship

n a vaguely specified social event

“a seemingly endless round of social functions
Synonyms:
affair, occasion, social function, social occasion
Types:
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party
an occasion on which people can assemble for social interaction and entertainment
celebration, jubilation
a joyful occasion for special festivities to mark some happy event
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance
a formal event performed on a special occasion
fundraiser
a social function that is held for the purpose of raising money
photo op, photo opportunity
an occasion that lends itself to (or is deliberately arranged for) taking photographs that provide favorable publicity for those who are photographed
sleepover
an occasion of spending a night away from home or having a guest spend the night in your home (especially as a party for children)
bash, brawl, do
an uproarious party
birthday party
a party held on the anniversary of someone's birth
bun-fight, bunfight
(Briticism) a grand formal party on an important occasion
ceilidh
an informal social gathering at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing and folk dancing and story telling
cocktail party
an afternoon party at which cocktails are served
dance
a party for social dancing
feast, fete, fiesta
an elaborate party (often outdoors)
house party
a party lasting over one or more nights at a large house
jolly
a happy party
tea party
a party at which tea is served
whist drive
a progressive whist party
circumstance
formal ceremony about important occasions
funeral
a ceremony at which a dead person is buried or cremated
hymeneals, nuptials, wedding, wedding ceremony
the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed
pageant, pageantry
a rich and spectacular ceremony
dedication
a ceremony in which something (as a building) is dedicated to some goal or purpose
opening
a ceremony accompanying the start of some enterprise
commemoration, memorialisation, memorialization
a ceremony to honor the memory of someone or something
military ceremony
a formal ceremony performed by military personnel
induction, initiation, installation
a formal entry into an organization or position or office
exercise
(usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
fire walking
the ceremony of walking barefoot over hot stones or a bed of embers
formalities, formality
a requirement of etiquette or custom
Maundy
a public ceremony on Maundy Thursday when the monarch distributes Maundy money
potlatch
a ceremonial feast held by some Indians of the northwestern coast of North America (as in celebrating a marriage or a new accession) in which the host gives gifts to tribesmen and others to display his superior wealth (sometimes, formerly, to his own impoverishment)
Type of:
social event
an event characteristic of persons forming groups
4

n a set sequence of steps, part of larger computer program

Synonyms:
procedure, routine, subprogram, subroutine
Types:
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cataloged procedure
a set of control statements that have been placed in a library and can be retrieved by name
contingency procedure
an alternative to the normal procedure; triggered if an unusual but anticipated situation arises
library routine
a debugged routine that is maintained in a program library
random number generator
a routine designed to yield a random number
recursive routine
a routine that can call itself
reusable routine
a routine that can be loaded once and executed repeatedly
executive routine, supervisory routine
a routine that coordinates the operation of subroutines
tracing routine
a routine that provides a chronological record of the execution of a computer program
service routine, utility routine
a routine that can be used as needed
dump routine
a routine that writes from an internal store to some external medium
input routine
a routine that writes from an external source to an internal store
output routine
a routine that controls an output device
Type of:
computer software, package, software, software package, software program, software system
(computer science) written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory
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