factor

noun
fac·​tor | \ˈfak-tər \

Definition of factor 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who acts or transacts business for another: such as

a : broker sense 1b

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for factor

Synonyms: Noun

building block, component, constituent, element, ingredient, member

Antonyms: Noun

whole

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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

Identity politics has done more to disenfranchise individual thought, erode effective civil discourse and encourage hate than, perhaps, any other single recent factor in American society. WSJ, "Identity Politics Pollutes Ballet and Football," 6 Nov. 2018 However, there were other factors that correlated with variations that weren’t necessarily geographic. James Vincent, The Verge, "Global preferences for who to save in self-driving car crashes revealed," 24 Oct. 2018 The Sylvia Rivera Law project, named after transgender activist Sylvia Rivera, is an organization that seeks freedom of gender expression for all, regardless of income, class, race, or other factors. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 However, the printer’s model type, filament, nozzle size and other factors cause slight imperfections in the patterns. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researcher Discovers Way to Trace 3D-Printed Guns—With a Few Caveats," 15 Oct. 2018 In recent years, scientists have learned that genetics, diet composition (amount of carbs, protein and fats), regular exercise and other factors play a role in CR’s effectiveness. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Even a high score can result in a credit denial if there are other mitigating factors in your risk profile. Michelle Singletary, BostonGlobe.com, "No, you don’t need a perfect 850 FICO score," 13 July 2018 Local school leaders blamed poor training and other factors for shoddy attendance enforcement and vowed to crack down. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "In first-ever veto, Bowser denies diplomas to chronically absent students," 12 July 2018 However, even if the soil is moist, other factors can cause or worsen leaf scorch, Yiesla said. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Brown leaves in summer probably signal scorched plants," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fewer had commissioned a report from the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office months ago that factored in potential expenses well beyond the costs of buying the devices themselves. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "SF supervisors hold back funding for police Tasers, citing concern over true costs," 25 June 2018 The numbers also do not take into account a household’s wealth, which can factor into affordability. Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Franciscans need to earn $333,000 a year to buy a median-price home," 15 May 2018 The sentencing factored in an enhancement applied for reckless behavior that results in injury or death — in this case, the death of Aurora college student Max Dobner. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora smoke shop employee gets prison for selling synthetic marijuana after young man's death," 8 Mar. 2018 Employee pressure has factored in a number of recent positions taken by companies. The Economist, "American companies snub the National Rifle Association," 1 Mar. 2018 The Department of Homeland Security offered recommendations to the NBA that factored into the arena work, Davidson said. James B. Nelson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hundreds of posts surrounding the new Milwaukee Bucks arena aim to prevent terror attacks," 5 Feb. 2018 Yet as corruption continues to factor into almost all economic transactions here, the clamor for change keeps growing. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Kenyans have had it with corruption. Their leaders may finally be doing something about it.," 13 July 2018 Gilgeous-Alexander and Robinson may very well blossom into a formidable duo, and that aspect has to be factored into this trade grade. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "Trades Grades: Hornets Send Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Clippers for Miles Bridges," 21 June 2018 The settlement and the price tag tied to it are expected to factor heavily into each side’s case. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "We Now Know Bill Cosby Paid $3.4M to a Sexual Assault Accuser. And He Could Use It to His Advantage at Trial," 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

18 Nov 2018

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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Comments on factor

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