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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are so many factors that affect the end result (air temperature, water temperature, oven temperature. . Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019 Surprisingly, none of these factors were predictive. Shlomo Benartzi And Suzanne Shu, WSJ, "Why Retirees Are Wary of Annuities," 10 Feb. 2019 All these factors make the equation that much more difficult. Megan Mcintyre, Glamour, "What No One Tells You About Tipping at the Hair Salon," 12 Dec. 2018 These factors range from the strength of ocean currents to the gravitational pull of large ice fields. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Video: Why our rising oceans aren’t causing problems everywhere," 5 Dec. 2018 Maximize your specimen's blooming period by paying attention to these six key factors: Temperature: Maintain an optimal climate of 65 degrees. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Keep Your Christmas Cactus Blooming the Whole Holiday Season," 27 Nov. 2018 These factors all play into the authenticity of the transformations, and helped shape the exciting final product. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Three San Diego Bungalows Are Transformed Into Vibrant, History-Filled Getaways," 3 Oct. 2018 Identifying factors like the texture and cap design help her distinguish a Caudalie face mask from Fresh's iconic Soy Face Cleanser. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "How Makeup Helped Beauty Vlogger Molly Burke Find Confidence After Losing Her Vision," 2 Apr. 2019 Windier states allow for higher capacity factors from wind turbines, allowing them to sell more electricity and recuperate their upfront costs faster. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 maps that show who’s being left behind in America’s wind-power boom," 28 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The result will address many of the questions hanging over the company, though, and will likely factor heavily into any settlement talks with Apple, which now has plenty of its own problems to worry about. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Qualcomm’s Day in Court Is Priced In," 7 Jan. 2019 Their Spring collections will factor heavily into the judges’ decisions leading up to the awards ceremony on November 5th. Elisee Browchuk, Vogue, "New York Fashion Week 2018 Calendar: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why," 31 Aug. 2018 Now to say Penske drivers enjoy a massive advantage over the rest of the field would be inaccurate, but there's little doubt at least one of them will factor into the outcome of Sunday's Kohler Grand Prix. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Penske poised to avenge last season's disappointment at Road America," 22 June 2018 But this year the financial penalty probably won’t factor into the decision for the reigning NFL defensive player of the year, a four-year veteran capable of resetting the market for players other than quarterbacks. Dan Woike & Gary Klein, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Chargers ready for quiet minicamp; Rams likely missing Aaron Donald," 11 June 2018 The cause of fire is unknown but the homeless encampment in the same field behind the store will factor into the investigation. Molly Sullivan, sacbee, "Rancho grass fire may be linked to homeless encampment | The Sacramento Bee," 20 May 2018 On Tuesday, Karlgaard declined to address the potential likelihood of Graham's contract being renewed in the coming months; what will factor into the decision on Graham's future; and what a potential timeline for that decision might look like. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Report: Rice won't bring back baseball coach Wayne Graham," 25 Apr. 2018 More importantly, the data collected allows them to assess how increasing threats from climate change in the swampy mangroves, which can be impossibly difficult to measure, will factor into forests rebounding from hurricanes. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "NASA team finds massive Everglades mangrove damage from Irma. Can it recover? | Miami Herald," 18 Apr. 2018 Since the acquisition, EMI Music Publishing has fared very nicely under the administration of Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the guidance of SATV chairman/CEO Martin Bandier -- and its current and potential growth will factor into the new price tag. Ed Christman, Billboard, "EMI FAQ: A Beginner's Guide to What Could Be This Summer's Biggest Music Industry Auction," 6 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about factor

Statistics for factor

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for factor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up factor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!