I. function func‧tion 1 [ˈfʌŋkʆn] noun
1. [countable] the purpose for which something is made or used, or the job that someone does; =role:

• The main function of a cash-machine is to provide people with cash when the bank is shut.

• He was once asked what he considered the function of a chairman to be.

• In your new job you will be expected to perform many different functions.

• For accounting purposes the Bank's function as the issuer of currency notes is shown separately from its banking activities.

2. [uncountable] the way in which something works or operates, or the way in which it is used:

• People buy design rather than function; otherwise why bother to design a beer can? The beer stays the same.

3. sales/​personnel/​accounting etc function HUMAN RESOURCES the part of a company that is responsible for sales, accounting etc:

• Why do companies use headhunters instead of their own in-house recruiting facilities and personnel function?

• The more efficient a company's accounting function might be, the less time it should take to do the audit.

4. [countable] COMPUTING an operation or series of operations performed by a computer or a computer program:

• You press the Ins key once to turn on a function and press it again to turn off the same function.

5. a function of if one thing is a function of another, it is produced by or varies according to the other thing:

• The unit price at any time is a function of the prevailing interest rates and the risk involved.

• For marketing purposes, purchases by customers are assumed to be a function of advertising and promotional expenditure.

— see also consumption function
  [m0] II. function function 2 verb [intransitive]
1. to work or operate:

• Can you explain exactly how this new system will function?

• Different types of organizations will require differing types of budgets to enable them to function effectively.

• A manager should identify and resolve factors stopping a member of staff from functioning properly.

2. MANUFACTURING if a machine or system functions, it works or operates in the way that it is supposed to:

• We usually run tests to check that the air conditioning system is functioning properly.

• Hospitals function in spite of the system, but only because of the enormous professional devotion of their staffs.

function as something phrasal verb [transitive]
to become something else or to do the work of another person or thing:

• The British Chamber of Commerce cannot function as a holding company, but can carry out service activities for the group.

• It took a year to train a group of people to function as general managers.

* * *

function UK US /ˈfʌŋkʃən/ noun
[C or U] the purpose that something has: »

The perfect marriage between product design and function account for the company’s success in the computer market.


A fundamental function of the Bank of England is the responsibility of carrying out monetary policy operations.

[C or U] a job or task that someone or something does: »

My function is to help coordinate efficient communication between the departments.


carry out/perform a function

[C] HR a particular area of responsibility of a company: »

a sales/marketing/business function

core/corporate functions »

Of all the core functions of most companies, innovation has arguably the most competitive value.

[C] IT a process which a computer or a software program uses to complete a task: a search/save/sort function »

The website benefits from a highly-efficient search function.

[C] an official occasion or event attended by many people: »

a charity/social/work function

be a function of sth — Cf. be a function of sth
See also CONSUMPTION FUNCTION(Cf. ↑consumption function)
function UK US /ˈfʌŋkʃən/ verb [I]
to work correctly and as expected: »

function effectively/properly/well


Flights were delayed because the airport computer system was not functioning.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Function — Func tion, n. [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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • function — n 1 Function, office, duty, province are comparable when they mean the act, acts, activities, or operations expected of a person or thing by virtue of his or its nature, structure, status, or position. Function is the most comprehensive of these… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • function — 1. The noun has a number of technical meanings in mathematics and information technology, and has acquired general meanings that caused Fowler (1926) to categorize it as a popularized technicality. As a noun, it is often used somewhat… …   Modern English usage

  • function — [fuŋk′shən] n. [OFr < L functio < pp. of fungi, to perform < IE base * bheug , to enjoy > Sans bhuṅktē, (he) enjoys] 1. the normal or characteristic action of anything; esp., any of the natural, specialized actions of a system, organ …   English World dictionary

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  • function — I noun appropriate activity, assignment, business, chore, design, duty, employment, exploitation, mission, munus, occupation, office, officium, performance, purpose, pursuit, responsibility, role, task, usage, use, utility, work associated… …   Law dictionary

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  • function — [n1] capacity, job action, activity, affair, behavior, business, charge, concern, duty, employment, exercise, faculty, goal, mark, mission, object, objective, occupation, office, operation, part, post, power, province, purpose, raison d’être*,… …   New thesaurus

  • function — ► NOUN 1) an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing. 2) a large or formal social event or ceremony. 3) a computer operation corresponding to a single instruction from the user. 4) Mathematics a relation or expression… …   English terms dictionary

  • Function — Func tion (f[u^][ng]k sh[u^]n), Functionate Func tion*ate, v. i. To execute or perform a function; to transact one s regular or appointed business. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • function — function, functionalism Although the use of the concepts of function and functionalism is usually associated with the work of Talcott Parsons in modern sociology, there is a long tradition of functional explanation in studying societies, and a… …   Dictionary of sociology

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