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

Purdue sought the lawsuit's dismissal, arguing the state is trying to hold the company liable while disregarding factors such as a doctor's judgment and a patient's decision on how to use the drug. Author: Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Judge allows Alaska’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturer to proceed," 13 July 2018 Tri-City cited three main factors in its suspension decision. Paul Sisson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Two county supervisors ask Tri-City to rethink mental health unit suspension," 12 July 2018 While 40 percent of cases are caused by known, preventable factors, the rest remain mysterious, frustrating scientists. NBC News, "Johnson & Johnson talc verdict goes against what is known about cancer," 13 July 2018 Even when Clinton staffers clicked the malicious links Katenberg crafted, two-factor authentication — a second, failsafe password test — still kept him out of their accounts. Raphael Satter, BostonGlobe.com, "Long-hidden hackers unmasked by special counsel investigation," 13 July 2018 The ratings incorporate several factors, including the traffic volume of the road, speed limit, width and number of lanes, turn lanes, curbs, rough railroad crossings, type of bike lane and more. David Schutz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Which Broward County roads are safe for bicyclists? Search our map," 13 July 2018 The industry’s future will again be impacted by politics and technological change, plus a newer factor, human-resource availability. Houston Chronicle, "Competition for top talent keeps pay scale high in oil industry," 13 July 2018 The average salary factors out to about $64.5 million per season, according to ESPN. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Cristiano Ronaldo deal with Juventus has Fiat workers planning strike," 13 July 2018 Even when Clinton staffers clicked the malicious links Katenberg crafted, two-factor authentication — a second, failsafe password test — still kept him out of their accounts. Raphael Satter, chicagotribune.com, "Elusive Russian hackers unmasked by U.S. special counsel," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Privacy - Terms Already, the foul phenomenon has factored heavily in the U.S. Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. David Smiley And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Florida’s politicians use slimy algae to muddy each other," 11 July 2018 Executives have long factored viewing data extracted from subscribers into their programming decisions, but online services can mine our viewing preferences much more minutely. David Sims, The Atlantic, "AT&T’s Troubling Plan to Make HBO More Like Netflix," 9 July 2018 Trump’s impatience with multilateral gatherings has already been factored in to the agenda, with planned work sessions on Georgia and Ukraine — both under siege from the Russians — combined into one meeting. Washington Post, "After ‘diplomatic equivalent of a multiple-car pileup,’ U.S. allies brace for NATO summit," 28 June 2018 New hires will not have overtime factored into their pension calculations, and will not have a sick leave payout after retirement. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Five Years Without A Contract, West Hartford Police, Town Agree To New Wage, Health Insurance, Pension Plans," 27 June 2018 Cass had factored into company plans as recently as April’s Greatest Royal Rumble event, and he is expected to draw immediate interest from the independents. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "Sources: Big Cass Released by WWE Due to Personal Conduct Issues," 19 June 2018 Investors and analysts have already factored in the potential benefits for the likes of brewers, retailers and advertisers. Bloomberg, Fortune, "How to Bet on World Cup 2018—In the Stock Market," 14 June 2018 The Grand Junction has factored into the hot debate over the state’s big project to straighten the Massachusetts Turnpike through Allston. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "A three-mile train route is now 120 miles," 26 May 2018 Concern about harming negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program, in which China plays a pivotal role as the isolated nation's closest ally, has also factored in Trump's decision to hold off on tariffs. Jenny Leonard And Saleha Mohsin, chicagotribune.com, "Trump backs away from China deal under pressure by trade hawks," 23 May 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

Noun

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

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Statistics for factor

Last Updated

9 Sep 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

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Comments on factor

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