I looked up the meaning of functional in dictionaries, and it seems like there are no examples of it being used to mean that something has functions. Because of that, I needed to ask you if functional can be used to mean that something has functions.

For example, can I say,

The foreskin is a functional part of your body


The foreskin is functional

to mean that the foreskin has functions? I am a person against circumcision. I use the word functional to describe the foreskin. I wonder if it is correct to use that adjective that way.

  • Useful; serving a purpose, fulfilling a function: That sculpture is not merely artistic, but also functional: it can be used as a hatrack. Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 23:25
  • Yes, it can be used that way. In fact I would say that this is the primary meaning. What do you think the other meanings are? Working properly, as opposed to broken?
    – legatrix
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 14:08
  • @legatrix collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/functional None of the three definitions here is the same as my definition in the OP. That is why I needed to ask this question here. Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:42
  • Functional often means 'in functioning/ working condition'. The equipment is functional; it may not always mean here that 'the equipment has functions'.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Can we use the adjective, “functional,” to mean something has functions?

Short answer - yes.

'Functional' is often used to mean that something which normally has a function is currently in 'working order', any many dictionary definitions may reflect this usage.

However, when it is less obvious or a lesser-known fact that something is functional, the word is used to show that it is.

Collins Dictionary states one definition as:

things are useful rather than decorative.

This definition seems precisely what you expect it to mean in reference to a part of the human anatomy which has a function, or purpose.

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