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 Israeli politics can be tribal, with loyalties to ethnic groups, religious factions and ideologies as strong a factor in voting as views on particular issues. David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, "Israeli Election Hinges on a Mosaic of Competing Groups," 17 Sep. 2019 Several factors set the pair apart, Rothman explained: For one thing, their timing was impeccable. Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "They were once America’s cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names?," 17 Sep. 2019 Most of them are probably just here for the gag factor. Fox News, "Thousands could flood rural Nevada town of 50 people after 'Storm Area 51' joke goes viral," 17 Sep. 2019 Poverty, ideas of family honor, social norms, customs and religious laws are factors that could force girls into child marriages. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Indonesia raises minimum age for marriage to curb child brides," 17 Sep. 2019 That tendency to switch it up, in particular, is an element of his management we hadn't yet seen in the Premier League, and may well prove to be the factor that underpins his success at Stamford Bridge. SI.com, "7 Things We Learned From Another Scorching Weekend of Premier League Action," 16 Sep. 2019 All four men have deep religious and educational ties to Israel – factors that have undermined their legitimacy as honest brokers in the eyes of many Palestinians. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "It's Israel's election but here's why Donald Trump is the 'King of Israel'," 16 Sep. 2019 Kocherla is published and is a corresponding author on over 25 publications in journals with high impact factor in the field of personalized medicine and genetics and a co-inventor on a patent. courant.com, "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 16 Sep. 2019 Over/under: The OVER (13.5, -115) is the play with Matz allowing a ton of runs on the road, and the Coors Field factor. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "New York Mets at Colorado Rockies odds, picks and betting tips," 16 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even after factoring in state aid, those communities, where state dollars covered most of their educational expenses, still spent about half as much per student as Cambridge did. James Vaznis, BostonGlobe.com, "Report backs Governor Baker tying strings to new education dollars," 2 July 2019 Jeffco Public Schools appears likely to benefit most, taking in an extra $9.2 million in state funds, even after factoring out the loss of tuition payments. Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s full-day kindergarten bill helps most Denver-area districts, but challenges the richest and poorest," 29 June 2019 While their efforts have translated slowly into action, including Dollar Tree’s recent pledge, the dollar chains haven’t always factored into public concern. National Geographic, "Dollar stores moving to pull dangerous plastics from shelves," 24 May 2019 Only four Dogs have suffered losses in 2018 after factoring in dividends: GE, IBM and energy giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. , whose tumble has coincided with a steep drop in oil prices. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "In the Stock Market, It’s a Dog-Eat-Dow World," 23 Dec. 2018 Dealing Whiteside and Johnson for expiring contracts or draft picks would give the Heat $36 million in cap space next summer without factoring in 2019 restricted free agent Justise Winslow. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Here's how and when the Heat can be a free agent player again, and what Miami is trying to do about it," 10 July 2018 Notable even after factoring in how he was fired is that Shulkin has not commented negatively about the President himself. Juana Summers, CNN, "David Shulkin wants to tell his side of the story -- and he's doing it everywhere," 30 Mar. 2018 An intradivisional loss to the Broncos factored into the tie-breaker. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: In Chargers talks, Melvin Gordon is underdog but not without leverage," 23 Aug. 2019 The 50th anniversary of the Manson murders factored into making your film and the timing of its release. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Connecting Charles Manson’s music to the murders," 14 Aug. 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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Statistics for factor

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

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
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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