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Meaning of function

func•tion

Pronunciation: (fungk'shun), [key]
— n.
  1. the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
  2. any ceremonious public or social gathering or occasion.
  3. a factor related to or dependent upon other factors: Price is a function of supply and demand.
    1. Also calledcorrespondence,map,mapping,transformation.a relation between two sets in which one element of the second set is assigned to each element of the first set, as the expression y = x2; operator.
    2. Also calledmultiple-value function.a relation between two sets in which two or more elements of the second set are assigned to each element of the first set, as y2 = x2, which assigns to every x the two values y = +x and y = −x.
    3. a set of ordered pairs in which none of the first elements of the pairs appears twice.
    1. a formula expressing a relation between the angles of a triangle and its sides, as sine or cosine.
    2. Seehyperbolic function.
    1. the grammatical role a linguistic form has or the position it occupies in a particular construction.
    2. the grammatical roles or the positions of a linguistic form or form class collectively.
  4. the contribution made by a sociocultural phenomenon to an ongoing social system.
—v.i.
  1. to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate: The computer isn't functioning now. He rarely functions before noon.
  2. to have or exercise a function; serve: In earlier English the present tense often functioned as a future. This orange crate can function as a chair.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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