noun Date: 1914 1. a late 19th century to early 20th century American school of psychology concerned especially with how the mind functions to adapt the individual to the environment — compare structuralism 1 2. a philosophy of design (as in architecture) holding that form should be adapted to use, material, and structure 3. a theory that stresses the interdependence of the patterns and institutions of a society and their interaction in maintaining cultural and social unity 4. a doctrine or practice that emphasizes practical utility or functional relations • functionalist nounfunctionalist or functionalistic adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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