factor

noun
fac·​tor | \ ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio) \

Definition of factor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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)
2a(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
4a : 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

factor

verb
factored; factoring\ ˈfak-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce factoring (audio) \

Definition of factor (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to work as a factor

transitive verb

1 : to resolve into factors
2a : 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

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Other Words from factor

Noun

factorship \ ˈfak-​tər-​ˌship How to pronounce factorship (audio) \ noun

Verb

factorable \ ˈfak-​t(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce factorable (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Matt, however, has pinned their divorce on other factors. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Amy Roloff Got Real About What Went Down Between Matt and Caryn Before Her Divorce," 30 May 2019 Deliveries from countries outside China add days to our production cycle based on factors including raw materials procurement and shipping routes. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Logistics Bottlenecks Hamper Efforts to Produce Less in China," 23 May 2019 Researchers based their figures on factors defined in a 2017 study by Promundo and Axe, which defined some of the harmful outcomes of putting pressure on men to act a certain way. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "The Cost of Toxic Masculinity," 22 May 2019 The change in production location for the EUV is surely a factor, and GM has been in a period of major lineup restructuring recently. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Will Be GM's Next Electric Car," 21 May 2019 That's a major factor of your love life, as well, and love shouldn't have anything to do with appearance. Allure, "Musician Lucy Dacus Opens Up About Body Image, Her Moms, and More in New Interview," 24 Apr. 2019 The ranking was determined based on various factors, including timeliness and comfort and cabin features. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "These Are the Top 10 Airlines in the World," 20 Mar. 2019 The three main factors of construction are: Density: As the name suggests, density refers to how many fibers are in a pile (the actual carpet, which is attached to a backing) and how tightly packed the fibers are. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Best Carpet Types for a Perfectly Grounded Space," 13 Feb. 2019 The housing cost spike that started in the mid-2000s at the tail end of the pre-Recession building boom was initially caused by increases in material costs; the continued rise is now mostly a factor of rising labor costs. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rising labor costs send the price of house construction skyward," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nevertheless, some companies still struggle to quantify geopolitical risks and factor them into operational plans, Ms. Goujon said. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Changing Role of Corporate Compliance Calls for Communication," 17 Apr. 2019 Immigrant students' test results start factoring into the school grade two years after their arrival, administrators said. Lena Jackson, Brenda Medina And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "These immigrants came for a better education. Now, they'll never graduate high school | Miami Herald," 16 May 2018 That way, doctors could pinpoint effects of the attacks while factoring out existing issues. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "“Injury to widespread brain networks” in victims of mystery attacks in Cuba," 15 Feb. 2018 Why Saban's success factored into his game-changing QB decision Nick Saban's decision to bench Jalen Hurts and insert Tua Tagovailoa will go down as one of the best decisions a coach has ever made in a championship game. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "Four takeaways from Alabama title game win: The Tua Effect and intriguing last play," 10 Jan. 2018 One federal healthcare move that will factor into Covered California’s 2019 premiums, Lee said, is the decision by Congress to eliminate the tax penalty on people who choose not to buy insurance starting next year. Barbara Feder Ostrov, latimes.com, "Covered California sees big rate hike from federal tax law, but not from Trump's legal moves," 15 June 2018 Prosecutor Kyle Anderson said Glisson didn't intend to hurt anyone, which factored into the plea deal. Fox News, "Tennessee woman accused in officer's death takes plea deal," 14 June 2018 Was Yojimbo something that actually factored in as an influence or a reference on the first season? Pete Keeley, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Barry' Finale: Bill Hader, Alec Berg on That Shocking End and What's Next," 13 May 2018 The school does, however, have a choice whether to support his waiver request, which could factor into the decision. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Ole Miss, in declining to support Shea Patterson, still won't face up to its crimes," 10 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'factor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of factor

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1621, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for factor

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

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Statistics for factor

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for factor

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

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More Definitions for factor

factor

noun

Financial Definition of factor

What It Is

A factor is a financial institution that purchases receivables from a company.

How It Works

Let's say Company XYZ sells widgets. It has about $1 million in receivables from customers who have not paid for their widgets.

Company XYZ needs cash right away because it is trying to finish building a new factory. It calls a factor, which purchases the receivables for $750,000. In the deal, Company XYZ gets $750,000 right away, and the factor gets the right to all the money from the receivables ($1 million). The factor then assumes the risk of customers paying late or not at all.

Why It Matters

Factors and factoring can be complicated, but the basic idea is that companies can trade cash flows later for cash flows now, which is useful for companies that need cash right away. It can also be expensive, as the example shows (Company XYZ gave up $250,000 of its receivables for the deal).

Because factors assume the risk of collecting the receivables, they are choosy about which companies they work with and the creditworthiness of the companies' customers.

Source: Investing Answers

factor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of factor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

factor

verb

English Language Learners Definition of factor (Entry 2 of 2)

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

factor

noun
fac·​tor | \ ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio) \

Kids Definition of factor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that helps produce a result Price was a factor in my decision.
2 : any of the numbers that when multiplied together form a product The factors of 6 are 1, 2, 3, and 6.

factor

verb
factored; factoring

Kids Definition of factor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be considered in making a judgment Class participation will factor into your grade.
2 : to find the factors of a number

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factor

noun
fac·​tor | \ ˈfak-tər How to pronounce factor (audio) \

Medical Definition of factor

1a : 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

Other Words from factor

factorial \ fak-​ˈtōr-​ē-​əl, -​ˈtȯr-​ How to pronounce factorial (audio) \ adjective

factor

noun
fac·​tor

Legal Definition of factor

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

History and Etymology for factor

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on factor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with factor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for factor

Spanish Central: Translation of factor

Nglish: Translation of factor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of factor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about factor

Comments on factor

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