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 intofactor 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 This territorialism, says Gehrt, could be a factor that will limit their spread. National Geographic, "Coyotes have expanded their range to 49 states—and show no signs of stopping.," 29 Nov. 2019 During that time, prescription drugs were cited as factors in just under half the deaths. CBS News, "Drugmakers, distributors said to face federal opioid probe," 27 Nov. 2019 Occupancy, along with cash flow, is a factor used by lenders and ratings agencies to assess the riskiness of a loan. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Trump Tax Records Reveal New Inconsistencies — This Time for Trump Tower," 27 Nov. 2019 In a college sports landscape plagued by declining attendance, quality of opponent is frequently pointed to as a factor in the decision of a growing number of fans to watch the game from home. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Why John Calipari prefers low-major home games to playing in the Maui Invitational," 23 Nov. 2019 This group includes players from the 2016 recruiting class, one that is regarded as a major factor in the program's turning point. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football seniors grasping for last chance to make season right," 21 Nov. 2019 Prediction Texans 24, Colts 21 The Colts being without Mack is a big factor in this one. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Colts-Texans odds, picks and best bets [UPDATED]," 21 Nov. 2019 There's a strong social factor: players can meet up on the map and talk, which is part of why the genre took off. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "The Game Industry Is Suffering from A Battle Royale ‘Hangover’," 20 Nov. 2019 In an interview with the South Bend Tribune, Swarbrick cited three home football games this November – including a Nov. 2 game against unranked Virginia Tech – as a factor in the streak’s end. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame Stadium will not be sold out for first time since 1973," 14 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Seven receivers factored into the passing total with Aiyuk catching seven for 161 yards, highlighted by an 81-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter for the decisive score. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU football takeaways: Sun Devils put together complete four quarters against Oregon," 24 Nov. 2019 But that's just one of the micellar waters factoring into this impressive stat. Marci Robin, Allure, "This Drugstore Facial Cleanser Is Sold Once Every Four Seconds," 9 Nov. 2019 Full-ice passing sequences factored into all four goals the Ducks scored Friday in a 4-2 win over Carolina. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Ducks’ luck has increased as puck movement has improved," 23 Oct. 2019 LaMarcus Aldridge showed during the offseason and preseason factored into the Spurs’ decision to fully guarantee the seven-time All-Star’s $24 million salary for next season. Tom Orsborn, ExpressNews.com, "Popovich takes high road with Morris, but not Knicks," 23 Oct. 2019 There will be other bonuses factored into the deal. SI.com, "Mario Mandzukic 'Halves Wage Demands' in Order to Push Through Man Utd Move," 23 Oct. 2019 The video released Monday factored into this month’s decision by a Jackson County grand jury to clear Moss Point Police Sgt. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mississippi releases body cam video of fatal police shooting," 15 Oct. 2019 Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Alabi’s experience, including a start at left tackle in last season’s Rose Bowl, factored into in starting decision at Nebraska. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Where does Nicholas Petit-Frere fit in Ohio State football’s offensive line mix?," 3 Oct. 2019 The possibility of a post-Brexit recession—and doubts that the country would remain flush enough to fully fund science—also factored into Wasmuth's decision. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Split decisions: How Brexit has taken a toll on five researchers," 3 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for factor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for factor

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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
How to pronounce factor (audio)

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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Comments on factor

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