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as in: Its main function is to... Define
purpose, job, or natural activity
  • The function of the lens of the eye is to focus light on the retina.
  • My brain does not function as well when I’m under stress.

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  • Scientist do not know all the functions that the nutrient performs.
  • 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
  • ...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
  • 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 inteffigence.
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon
  • Without wisdom I could not fulfill my function of advising the Committee of Elders when they call upon me.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • 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
  • Furniture was standard throughout the community: practical, sturdy, the function of each piece clearly defined.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • "gordon effect: a study of structure and function of increased intelligence," which i would like to have you read and have published.
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon
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as in: can't function well without sleep Define
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.
  • My brain does not function as well when I’m under stress.

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  • Moderate exercise improves brain function.
  • The computer isn’t functioning properly.
  • The computer isn’t functional.
  • If the hurricane is bad, the school gym will function as an emergency shelter.
  • The kitchen table also functions as a study desk.
  • And of course our community can’t function smoothly if people don’t use precise language.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • I was just Travis 2.0—all the same files in a brand-new, fully functioning operating system.
    John Corey Whaley  --  Nogin
  • Standing before this abraded pile, the eye regarded its present usage, the mind dwelt upon its past history, with a satisfied sense of functional continuity throughout—a feeling almost of gratitude, and quite of pride, at the permanence of the idea which had heaped it up.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd

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  • He never met a classmate in the hall of Main Medical without shouting, "How’s your vermiform appendix functioning this morning?" or "I bid thee a lofty greeting, old pediculosis."
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • The architecture of the Overlords was bleakly functional: Jan saw no ornaments, nothing that did not serve a purpose, even though that purpose was often beyond his understanding.
    Arthur C. Clarke  --  Childhood’s End
  • From the very beginning of his illness, ever since he had first been to see the doctor, Ivan Ilych’s life had been divided between two contrary and alternating moods: now it was despair and the expectation of this uncomprehended and terrible death, and now hope and an intently interested observation of the functioning of his organs.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  The Death of Ivan Ilych
  • Hawat’s shocked fury had mounted until it threatened the smooth functioning of his Mentat capabilities.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • I had imagined that the condition of the cars, whether or not things were obtainable, the smooth functioning of the business of removing wounded and sick from the dressing stations, hauling them back from the mountains to theclearing station and then distributing them to the hospitals named on their papers, depended to a considerable extent on myself.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  A Farewell to Arms
  • It was smaller than the Kidwell’s, and, moreover, he shared it with a wife, three active children, and a perpetually functioning television set.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • The small black hole gaped where their varied forms and colours had momentarily functioned.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • It turned out to be a functional pa le brick building, one story, with slab floors and bright lighting.
    Don DeLillo  --  White Noise
  • It seemed as if what the old king had called "beginner’s luck" were no longer functioning.
    Paulo Coelho  --  The Alchemist
  • His mind, temporarily sidetracked, oiled itself and ticked and turned and woke up, functioning.
    Michael Shaara  --  The Killer Angels
  • The way driving schools prepared functional illiterates for the written part of the driver’s exam.
    Stephen King  --  Cujo
  • Specifics may come to you, certain repressed conduits electrically prodded into functioning.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Identity
  • Her hair was cut short like a man’s, and she wore the kind of functional dark tunic favored by Soviet wives.
    John Le Carre  --  The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  • When an animal laments, it is not a lament; it is merely the rasp of a poorly functioning mechanism.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • I don’t know how much outer zoology they are teaching you kids these days-from the ignoramuses we get for recruits I’ve reached the conclusion that this new-fangled ’functional education’ has abolished studying in favor of developing their cute little personalities.
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  Tunnel In the Sky
  • We knew what the brain caste looked like; we had seen them dead (in photographs) and we knew they could not run — barely functional legs, bloated bodies that were mostly nervous system.
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  Starship Troopers
  • He loses what was destroyed but goes on functioning.
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • They-we-sent back more functional intelligence than all the units sent out by Saigon put together.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • It functioned for less than five minutes, and then turned itself off again.
    Roger Zelazny  --  Lord of Light
  • It seems to be functioning all right now.
    Roger Zelazny  --  My Name is Legion
  • Usually I appreciated the lack of word-spew, which would begin when she was fully functioning, but right now we needed to move, move, move! I practically threw Nudge through the window, slithered out myself, then propped the screen back in place as best I could.
    James Patterson  --  The Angel Experiment
  • Functional enough, I suppose.
    Ted Dekker  --  Black: The Birth of Evil
  • He’d fashioned the spyglass from his memory of the histories, using a resin from the pine trees, and although it hardly functioned as he suspected it should, it did give him a slight advantage over the naked eye.
    Ted Dekker  --  Red: The Heroic Rescue
  • She looked nice, but her face had that hollow look it had taken on since Cass left, like she was just a shell of her former self, functioning and talking but hardly alive.
    Sarah Dessen  --  Dreamland
  • Melissa was a lot more functional here in the blue time, but Rex still hovered.
    Scott Westerfeld  --  The Secret Hour
  • He didn’t really know popular music, and his clothes were, well, functional.
    D.J. Machale  --  The Merchant of Death
  • She stepped in close to watch how he did it and for the first time she was aware of the smell of him, a warm clean smell of leather and some functional brand of soap.
    Nicholas Evans  --  The Horse Whisperer
  • Sometimes, Mary and I functioned as a caretaking unit.
    Alice Sebold  --  Lucky
  • The lake and campground they were headed for was only a few miles beyond Joseph, and after finding their site they all pitched in and had everything set up in short order—perhaps not exactly the way Nan would have preferred, but functional nonetheless.
    William P. Young  --  The Shack
  • I have a basic functional knowledge of several languages, but know almost nothing of the rest of them.
    James A. Owen  --  Here, There be Dragons
  • But even with a fully functioning transmitter, I don’t think we’d be able to send a signal very far from down here."
    Kenneth Oppel  --  Airborn
  • The hate and fear which we have inspired in him, woven by our civilization into the very structure of his consciousness, into his blood and bones, into the hourly functioning of his personality, have become the justification of his existence.
    Richard Wright  --  Native Son
  • Impossibly, the water in the bathroom was still functioning.
    Dave Eggers  --  Zeitoun
  • It was clear that her orderly mind was functioning no less professionally than at the Baskul mission house.
    James Hilton  --  Lost Horizon
  • Spyglasses functioned with feverish energy.
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • Exactly how her marriage with Greger Beckman functioned, he had no idea.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • It was an indication that Niedermann was functioning, and a functioning Niedermann was invincible.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
  • Decrease in intellectual functioning for a day or two.
    James Patterson  --  Kiss the Girls
  • After so many torturous days of cheap, functional food, this is like going to heaven.
    Sophie Kinsella  --  Confessoins of a Shopaholic
  • His feet were completely dead now, his knees worked like old hinges, his kidneys functioned when they would, but his heart persisted doggedly to beat.
    Flannery O’Connor  --  A Good Man is Hard to Find AND OTHER STORIES
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as in: I'm attending a function tonight Define
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.
  • She attends a lot of school functions.

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  • It’s a function celebrating gay rights.
  • 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
  • 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
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as in: oxygen is a function of altitude Define
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.
  • Expertise in largely a function of hours spent on task.

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  • Oxygen is a function of altitude.
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as in: Amazon's new search function Define
computer code that performs a specific task
  • I like Amazon’s new search function.
  • The program has a built-in function that does that with a single user request.

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  • It [the mechanical hound] doesn’t like or dislike. It just ’functions’.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Fahrenheit 451
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as in: a mathematical function Define
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?
  • Do you remember the function to calculate the area of a circle from its radius?

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  • 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.
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  • All was royal; To the disposing of it nought rebell’d, Order gave each thing view; the office did Distinctly his full function.
    William Shakespeare  --  Henry VIII
  • Why, ’twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions; they put forth to steal.
    William Shakespeare  --  Measure for Measure

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  • Shall I perform my various functions for the eminent Feyd-Rau-
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • Bene Gesserit performs another function.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • Unselfishness with Miss Bartlett had entirely usurped the functions of enthusiasm.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • She was past marrying herself, even unhappily; her function was to help others, her reward to be informed that she was sympathetic.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • Such was her intentness, however, that it seemed as if her ears were performing the functions of seeing as well as hearing.
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Return of the Native
  • His life had reduced itself to the functions of weaving and hoarding, without any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended.
    George Eliot  --  Silas Marner
  • The chief executive and financial functions devolved upon the owner Messrs.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • Mandy Meacham regarded Johnnie’s preparation for the function with some disfavour.
    Grace MacGowan Cooke  --  The Power and the Glory

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  • Pity to let those grey cells function unnecessarily.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • Poor Mirina can barely function.
    J.D. Robb  --  Glory in Death
  • For the first time in my life, and the last, I saw Summerset unable to function.
    J.D. Robb  --  Immortal in Death
  • Chamberlain sat for a long moment silently trying to function.
    Michael Shaara  --  The Killer Angels
  • Perfectly normal function.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Identity
  • Function controls design.
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Our parental functions can best be performed by guiding them as we do, through the Temples.
    Roger Zelazny  --  Lord of Light
  • After the machine had ceased to function, the disc fell into a cup and was retrieved by its owner.
    Roger Zelazny  --  Lord of Light
  • I worked for about ten minutes, and the drifting capsule hundreds of fathoms beneath us began to function once again.
    Roger Zelazny  --  My Name is Legion
  • Premonitions may be linked to the very nature and fabric of magic . or they may function in a similar way to the dragons’ ancestral memories.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • Then I wouldn’t be Max anymore, wouldn’t be able to function, take care of the others, be the alpha girl.
    James Patterson  --  The Angel Experiment
  • I admired Gazzy’s uncanny mimicking ability but resented his fascination with bodily functions, a fascination apparently shared by Weird Al.
    James Patterson  --  Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
  • The other ones who function pretty well and last more than a couple days are human-lupine hybrids, or wolf people.
    James Patterson  --  Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
  • In fact, Ciphus of Southern, the Council elder, had calculated that the lakes could function adequately for only three hundred thousand.
    Ted Dekker  --  Red: The Heroic Rescue
  • She’d finished her last book in three and a half weeks, and it was big enough to function effectively as a doorstop.
    Sarah Dessen  --  This Lullaby
  • He’s taller and thinner than I, wears jeans to most social functions, and when he visits at Thanksgiving or Christmas, he eats only vegetables.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Wedding
  • While Andrea was staring at the door, Cobra staggered up behind her, mumbling something crude about bodily functions.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Guardian
  • She fought to function normally.
    Alice Sebold  --  Lucky
  • 22 For Homer’s ideas about poetry and its function of preserving fame, see Andrew Ford, Homer: The Poetry of the Past (Ithaca, 1992).
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • Thinking is the function.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • "Good heavens, what a function!" he then woefully exclaimed.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 2
  • There was but one course: to suspend the man from the exercise of all priestly functions, and bid the smaller native priests take warning.
    Willa Cather  --  Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Both were included in his job, and he made the best of them, but he was always ready to give way to anyone else who could function as well or better.
    James Hilton  --  Lost Horizon
  • For her, a conversation had a straightforward function.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • He suffers from a disease called congenital analgesia, which means the transmitter substance in his nerve synapses doesn’t function.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
  • Mr. Crepsley said it would be years before I knew everything and was able to function by myself.
    Darren Shan  --  A Vampire’s Assistant
  • But the CCC had a greater function—one that did not fully reveal itself until America went to war.
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • Like any organ, the mind could only function so long before tiring, and remaining on guard would hasten that exhaustion.
    Ted Dekker  --  BoneMan’s Daughters
  • And so instead he began to speak about bodily functions, although in a rather strange fashion.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • No food that is distasteful must be eaten and there is neither praise nor blame for the body’s natural functions.
    Joy Kogawa  --  Obasan
  • I can function on drug street corners and at wine-sipping theater receptions.
    Jay Allison, et al.  --  This I Believe II
  • Schizophrenia is a disorder in which you don’t seem to be able to function as well as you can.
    Steve Lopez  --  The Soloist
  • A fourth group was engaged in preliminary design of a machine that would carry out all human functions and would be self-duplicating.
    Michael Crichton  --  The Andromeda Strain
  • Direct visualization was not really necessary; Scavenger could function without it.
    Michael Crichton  --  The Andromeda Strain
  • His function was to come along for moral support.
    Betty Smith  --  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • But consciousness-or its absence-is of no concern as long as the functions for sustaining life are maintained.
    Haruki Murakami  --  After Dark
  • He’s got a good job workin’ at Proctor and Gamble, where his main function, as far as I can tell, is kissin’ up to white people.
    Sharon M. Draper  --  Tears of a Tiger
  • And, like we were at any normal high school function, Mrs. Johnson turned, smiling, to meet my parents.
    P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast  --  Betrayed
  • You see, coed church functions were meant to relieve the teen hormonal thing, with close enough supervision to assure the chastity thing.
    Ellen Hopkins  --  Burned
  • Few beings—human, elf, or dragon—could continue to function rationally after such a loss.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Inheritance
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