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Is there any difference between mapping and function?

I am an aspiring mathematician who just started out. What is the difference between a function and a map? Or are these notions equivalent?

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    $\begingroup$ See this question. It is identical. $\endgroup$
    – glebovg
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ I doubt there is even a precise definition of a function, because any definition has a counterexample. $\endgroup$
    – glebovg
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ @glebovg, "function" has a precise definition: A function from a set $A$ to a set $B$ is a subset $f$ of $A \times B$ such that for any $a \in A$ there exists a unique $b \in B$ such that $(a,b) \in f$. In this notation, you would denote $b$ by $f(a)$ and the point is that a function is completely determined by its graph. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


In my experience the two have always been interchangeable. Occasionally one is chosen for emphasis. For instance, sometimes one will use the term "function" to refer specifically to a map of sets with no structure, rather than a continuous map of topological spaces or a homomorphisms of some algebraic objects. Alternatively, the term "map" is sometimes reserved for geometric kinds of things (spaces, manifolds, etc.).


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