factor

1 of 2

noun

fac·​tor ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio)
1
: one who acts or transacts business for another: such as
b
: one that lends money to producers and dealers (as on the security of accounts receivable)
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
a clotting factor that facilitates blood coagulation
b
: a good or service (such as land, labor, or capital) used in the process of production
3
: gene
4
a
: any of the numbers or symbols in mathematics that when multiplied together form a product (see product sense 1)
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 noun

factor

2 of 2

verb

factored; factoring ˈfak-t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce factor (audio)

intransitive verb

: to work as a factor

transitive verb

1
: to resolve into factors
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 adjective

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.

Examples of factor in a Sentence

Noun There were several factors contributing to their recent decline. Poor planning was a major factor in the company's failure. 6, 4, 3, and 2 are factors of 12. Verb you should factor in inflation in making investment decisions
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The swing factor may be in the wealth management business. Zev Fima, CNBC, 13 July 2024 The right specialist for you might be determined by your specific needs, such as an assessment or medication, but pragmatic issues are often key factors. Bryan Cochran, Discover Magazine, 12 July 2024
Verb
Scott Olson | Getty Images Even factoring in pricey Chicagoland, the median home price in The Land of Lincoln is just $301,900, according to Redfin. Scott Cohn, CNBC, 12 July 2024 The National Weather Service said the heat index, which factors in humidity, will make Houston area temperatures feel more like 106 degrees. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for factor 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'factor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English factour "doer, perpetrator, commercial agent," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin factor "maker, creator, perpetrator" (Medieval Latin, "commercial agent, broker"), from fac-, stem of facere "to make, bring about, perform, do" + -tor, agent suffix — more at fact

Verb

verbal derivative of factor entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1621, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of factor was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near factor

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

factor

1 of 2 noun
fac·​tor ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio)
1
: one that buys or sells property for another : agent
2
: something that contributes to the production of a result
price wasn't a factor in our decision
3
: gene
4
: any of the numbers or symbols in mathematics that when multiplied together form a product
especially : a number that divides another number without leaving a remainder
the factors of 6 are 1, 2, 3, and 6

factor

2 of 2 verb
factored; factoring -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce factor (audio)
1
: to find the mathematical factors of and especially the prime mathematical factors
2
: to act as a factor
attendance will factor into your grade
factorable adjective

Medical Definition

factor

noun
fac·​tor ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio)
1
a
: something that actively contributes to the production of a result
b
: a substance that functions in or promotes the function of a particular physiological process or bodily system
2
: gene
factorial adjective

Legal Definition

factor

noun
fac·​tor
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
: a person or thing that actively contributes to the production of a result
a difference in salary based on a factor other than sex
Etymology

Noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on factor

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