Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

factor

play
noun fac·tor \ˈfak-tər\

Simple Definition of factor

  • : something that helps produce or influence a result : one of the things that cause something to happen

  • mathematics : a number that evenly divides a larger number

  • : an amount by which another amount is multiplied or divided

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of factor

  1. 1 :  one who acts or transacts business for another: as a :  broker 1b b :  one that lends money to producers and dealers (as on the security of accounts receivable)

  2. 2 a (1) :  one that actively contributes to the production of a result :  ingredient <price wasn't a factor in the decision> (2) :  a substance that functions in or promotes the function of a particular physiological process or bodily system b :  a good or service used in the process of production

  3. 3 :  gene

  4. 4 a :  any of the numbers or symbols in mathematics that when multiplied together form a product; also :  a number or symbol that divides another number or symbol b :  a quantity by which a given quantity is multiplied or divided in order to indicate a difference in measurement <costs increased by a factor of 10>

factorship

play \-ˌship\ noun

Examples of factor in a sentence

  1. There were several factors contributing to their recent decline.

  2. Poor planning was a major factor in the company's failure.

  3. 6, 4, 3, and 2 are factors of 12.



Did You Know?

In Latin factor means simply "doer". So in English a factor is an "actor" or element or ingredient in some situation or quantity. Charm can be a factor in someone's success, and lack of exercise can be a factor in producing a poor physique. In math we use factor to mean a number that can be multiplied or divided to produce a given number (for example, 5 and 8 are factors of 40). And in biology a gene may be called a factor, since genes are ingredients in the total organism.

Origin and Etymology of factor

Middle English, from Middle French facteur, from Latin factor doer, from facere


First Known Use: 15th century


2

factor

verb fac·tor

Simple Definition of factor

  • : to consider or include (something) in making a judgment or calculation

  • : to not consider or include (something) in making a judgment or calculation

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of factor

factored

factoring

play \-t(ə-)riŋ\
  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to work as a factor

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to resolve into factors

  5. 2 a :  to include or admit as a factor —used with in or into <factor inflation into our calculations> b :  to exclude as a factor —used with out

factorable

play \-t(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective

1621

First Known Use of factor

1621



FACTOR Defined for Kids

1

factor

play
noun fac·tor \ˈfak-tər\

Definition of factor for Students

  1. 1 :  something that helps produce a result <Price was a factor in my decision.>

  2. 2 :  any of the numbers that when multiplied together form a product <The factors of 6 are 1, 2, 3, and 6.>




2

factor

play
verb fac·tor

Definition of factor for Students

factored

factoring

  1. 1 :  to be considered in making a judgment <Class participation will factor into your grade.>

  2. 2 :  to find the factors of a number




Medical Dictionary

factor

play
noun fac·tor \ˈfak-tər\

Medical Definition of factor

  1. 1a:  something that actively contributes to the production of a resultb:  a substance that functions in or promotes the function of a particular physiological process or bodily system

  2. 2:  gene

factorial

\fak-ˈtōr-ē-əl, -ˈtȯr-\play adjective



Law Dictionary

factor

noun fac·tor

Legal Definition of factor

  1. 1 :  one who acts or transacts business for another: as a :  a commercial agent who buys or sells goods for others on commission b :  one that lends money to producers and dealers (as on the security of accounts receivable)

  2. 2 :  a person or thing that actively contributes to the production of a result <a difference in salary based on a factor other than sex>



Origin and Etymology of factor

Medieval Latin, doer, maker, agent, from Latin, maker, from facere to do, make



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up factor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accomodate acommodate accommodate acommadate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ