Etymology
Advertisement
function (n.)

1530s, "one's proper work or purpose; power of acting in a specific proper way," from French fonction (16c.) and directly from Latin functionem (nominative functio) "a performance, an execution," noun of action from funct-, past-participle stem of fungi "perform, execute, discharge," from PIE *bhung- "be of use, be used" (source also of Sanskrit bhunjate "to benefit, make benefit, atone," Armenian bowcanem "to feed," Old Irish bongaid "to break, harvest"), which is perhaps related to root *bhrug- "to enjoy." Meaning "official ceremony" is from 1630s, originally in church use. Use in mathematics probably was begun by Leibnitz (1692). In reference to computer operations, 1947.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
function (v.)

1844, "perform a function" (intransitive), from function (n.). Related: Functioned; functioning.

Related entries & more 
dysfunction (n.)

"failure to function, abnormality or impairment of function," 1914, from dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" + function (n.). Originally in anatomy and medicine; in sociology by 1949.

Related entries & more 
functional (adj.)
1630s, "pertaining to function or office," from function (n.) + -al (1), or from Medieval Latin functionalis. Meaning "utilitarian" is by 1864; specific use in architecture is from 1928. Related: Functionally; functionality.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
functionary (n.)
"one who has a certain function, one who holds an office," 1791, from or patterned on French fonctionnaire, a word of the Revolution; from fonction (see function (n.)). As an adjective in English from 1822, "functional." Related: Functionarism.
Related entries & more 
malfunction (n.)

"a faulty functioning, a failure to function as expected," 1827, from mal- "bad, badly, wrong" + function. As a verb, "to fail to function normally or as expected," by 1888. Related: Malfunctioned; malfunctioning.

Related entries & more 
defunct (adj.)

"dead, deceased, extinct," 1590s, from Old French defunct (14c., Modern French defunt) or directly from Latin defunctus "dead," literally "off-duty," past-participle adjective from defungi "to discharge, finish," from de- "off, completely" (see de-) + fungi "perform or discharge duty" (see function (n.)).

Related entries & more 
fungible (adj.)
"capable of being used in place of another; capable of being replaced," 1818, a word in law originally, from Medieval Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungi "perform" (see function (n.)) via phrases such as fungi vice "to take the place." Earlier as a noun (1765).
Related entries & more 
perfunctory (adj.)

"done mechanically or without interest or zeal and merely for the sake of being rid of the duty of doing it; done so as to conform to the letter but not the spirit," 1580s, from Late Latin perfunctorius "careless, negligent," literally "like one who wishes to get through a thing," from Latin perfungus, past participle of perfungi "discharge, busy oneself, get through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fungi "perform" (see function (n.)). Related: Perfunctorily.

Related entries & more