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function

used in a sentence
6 meanings
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1  —as in:
Its main function is to...
Definition purpose, job, or natural activity
  • The function of the lens of the eye is to focus light on the retina.
function = job or purpose
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Scientist do not know all the functions that the nutrient performs.
  • functions = purposes or natural activities
  • This was the first time he had admitted the double function of the fire. Certainly one was to send up a beckoning column of smoke; but the other was to be a hearth now and a comfort until they slept.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • function = purpose
  • Simply, it was this: for good purposes, even high purposes, the people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies.
    Arthur Miller  --  The Crucible
  • function = purpose
  • Without wisdom I could not fulfill my function of advising the Committee of Elders when they call upon me.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • function = job
  • His function is to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an organization.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • function = job
  • Instead of rambling, this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the country-side — East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • function = purpose
  • Yet for the sake of science, I am grateful for the little bit that I here add to the knowledge of the function of the human mind and of the laws governing the artificial increase of human intelligence.
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon
  • function = natural activity
  • ...Present fears
    Are less than horrible imaginings.
    My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
    Shakes so my single state of man, that function
    Is smother'd in surmise; and nothing is
    But what is not.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • function = natural activity, work, or operability
  • Furniture was standard throughout the community: practical, sturdy, the function of each piece clearly defined.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
function = purpose

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
can't function well without sleep
Definition work or operate — sometimes to work or operate normally or in a particular way
  • I don't function well on less than six hours of sleep a night; and I do best on nine.
function = work or operate
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • My brain does not function as well when I'm under stress.
  • function = work or operate
  • Moderate exercise improves brain function.
  • function = operation (how well it works)
  • The computer isn't functioning properly.
  • functioning = working or operating
  • The computer isn't functional.
  • functional = working
  • If the hurricane is bad, the school gym will function as an emergency shelter.
  • function = work or operate
  • The kitchen table also functions as a study desk.
  • functions = works or operates
  • And of course our community can't function smoothly if people don't use precise language.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • function = operate
  • It [the mechanical hound] doesn't like or dislike. It just 'functions'.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
  • functions = works or operates
  • The Slabs functions as the seasonal capital of a teeming itinerant society, a tolerant, rubber-tired culture comprising the retired, the exiled, the destitute, the perpetually unemployed.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
functions = operates

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
3  —as in:
I'm attending a function tonight
Definition a social event or ceremony — especially one attended for work or out of a sense of duty
  • I promised to attend their function tonight. I think it's important that we show our support.
function = social event or ceremony
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • She attends a lot of school functions.
  • functions = social events or ceremonies
  • It's a function celebrating gay rights.
  • function = social event or ceremony
  • I wanted to meet you all and see my sister again, but I hate it when these things turn into state functions.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Selection
  • functions = social events that are a duty
  • Look at me: the life of every social function in Paris.
    David Henry Hwang  --  M. Butterfly
  • function = social event
  • There weren't a lot of people who were equipped to babysit for Auggie, so Mom and Dad brought him to all my class plays and concerts and recitals, all the school functions, the bake sales and the book fairs.
    R.J. Palacio  --  Wonder
  • functions = social events
  • "It reminds me of a lower-caste Community Sing," she told Bernard. But a little later it was reminding her a good deal less of that innocuous function.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • function = social event or ceremony
  • In retrospect, and having now seen the child in question at various school functions and in the class pictures, I think it may have been too much to ask of our children to be able to process all that.
    R.J. Palacio  --  Wonder
  • functions = social events
  • It was a half-page torn out of The Times of about ten years earlier — the top half of the page, so that it included the date — and it contained a photograph of the delegates at some Party function in New York.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • function = event
  • It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed.
    George Orwell  --  1984
function = event

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
4  —as in:
oxygen is a function of altitude
Definition saying one results from another; or saying that the amount of one thing is dependent upon the value of another.
  • Their success is a function of their teamwork and practice.
function = result
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Expertise in largely a function of hours spent on task.
  • function = predictable value
  • Oxygen is a function of altitude.

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
5  —as in:
Amazon's new search function
Definition computer code that performs a specific task
  • I like Amazon's new search function.
function = computer code that performs a specific task
  • The program has a built-in function that does that with a single user request.
function = computer code that performs a specific task

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
6  —as in:
a mathematical function
Definition a formula or mathematical expression that describes a relationship between variables
  • What is the function to calculate how much carpet is required to cover a rectangular room of a given length and width?
function = formula (a mathematical expression that describe a relationship between variables)
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Do you remember the function to calculate the area of a circle from its radius?
  • function = formula (a mathematical expression that describe a relationship between variables)
  • Since there is less oxygen at high altitudes, to know how much oxygen is available at the top of any mountain, you will need a function that converts altitude to available oxygen.
function = formula (a mathematical expression that describe a relationship between variables)

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary / more samples — Oxford® USDictionary list — Onelook.com®
Less commonly:
For more specialized meanings in math and chemistry, see a comprehensive dictionary.
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