factor

noun
fac·​tor | \ ˈfak-tər \

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 \

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 \ noun

Verb

factorable \ ˈfak-​t(ə-​)rə-​bəl \ 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

Dove discovered that 71 percent of girls look to music as an influential factor in their lives, which inspired the brand to reach out to girls through Rowland's song. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Kelly Rowland's New Music Video Shatters Beauty Standards," 6 Feb. 2019 That was part of a 2-for-13 third-down conversion rate Seattle coaches cited later as the most significant factor in their offensive struggles. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks mailbag: Debating Seattle’s late-game offensive philosophy," 4 Feb. 2019 Form factor: Intel and its partners don’t plan on radically redesigning the PC with much beyond the 2-in-1 and clamshell designs already on the market, Newman said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside Project Athena: How Intel and PC makers are creating the ultra-responsive laptops of tomorrow," 7 Jan. 2019 However, many luxury and designer sofas with webbing are still expensive because of other factors, such as materials, silhouette, aesthetic, and more. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About 8-Way Hand-Tied Sofas," 5 Jan. 2019 Production volume will no longer be a competitive advantage, which will emphasize skill and artistry as the distinguishing factor. Pam Baker, Ars Technica, "Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine," 6 Dec. 2018 And to what extent did the rise of the political evangelical right as a potent electoral and cultural force factor into that? Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Why this shrinking religious group might be among America’s last “swing voters”," 5 Nov. 2018 In an email interview with me, Bradford mentioned uncertainty as a pervasive factor. Vanessa Willhoughby, Allure, "The Reality of Navigating the Mental Health System as a Black Woman," 13 Oct. 2018 Admission rates at UC Berkeley, for example, dropped from 50% to 20% for Black students and from 45% to 21% for Latino students between 1997 and 1998 and 1998 and 1999, the first year the institution eliminated race as a factor in admissions. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "What You Need to Know about Race and College Admissions," 27 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Experian PLC, one of the largest credit-reporting firms in the U.S., will start factoring in this payments information for some consumers early next year. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "Want a Better Credit Score? Soon, Your Cellphone Bill Could Help," 17 Jan. 2019 Both of these probably factored in to my opportunity to chow down on insects. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ars eats more bugs, finds a few we like," 30 Sep. 2018 For any car purchase, Moody recommends factoring resale value, cost of ownership expenses such as fuel economy and new tires, and accessibility to a dealership network. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "Graduating to your own car? Safety features are key," 8 June 2018 Since Amazon’s service is designed to deliver packages to homes, not businesses, the costs of residential delivery are factored in from the beginning, eliminating the need for a surcharge. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Amazon’s Pitch to Woo Shippers: Fewer Fees Than FedEx, UPS," 23 Jan. 2019 Public space is factoring into the health equation, too. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How cities became more equitable in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Social behaviors may not factor into US credit scores, but the idea that a person’s financial history reflects trustworthiness has long influenced employment decisions and other factors that affect Americans’ quality-of-life. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system," 2 Nov. 2018 However, the ZiPs projections don't factor in future roster moves, particularly trades that seem likely to occur. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Royals have slight chance to reach modern-day record for losses, says FanGraphs writer," 10 July 2018 What isn’t factored in: admission to Orlando area theme parks. Gretchen Day-bryant, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Orlando, Fort Lauderdale rank as affordable vacation destinations," 9 July 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

11 Feb 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 \

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 \

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-​ \ 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

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