factor


factor

In multiplication, one of two or more numerical or algebraic components of a product. A whole number's factors are the whole numbers that divide evenly into it (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12 are factors of 12). To factor a counting number means to break it down into its prime number factors. To factor a polynomial is to find its prime polynomial factors, a basic procedure for solving algebraic equations. According to the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, the prime factorization of any number or polynomial is unique.

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