1

factor

noun fac·tor \ ˈfak-tər \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of factor

1 : one who acts or transacts business for another: such as
a : broker 1b
b : one that lends money to producers and dealers (as on the security of accounts receivable)
2 a (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
4 a : any of the numbers or symbols in mathematics that when multiplied together form a product (see product 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

factorship

play \ˈfak-tər-ˌship\ noun

Examples of factor in a Sentence

  1. There were several factors contributing to their recent decline.

  2. Poor planning was a major factor in the company's failure.

  3. 6, 4, 3, and 2 are factors of 12.

Recent Examples of factor from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of factor

Middle English, from Middle French facteur, from Latin factor doer, from facere — see factitious


2

factor

verb

Definition of factor

factored; factoring play \ˈfak-t(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb
: to work as a factor
transitive verb
1 : to resolve into factors
2 a : 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

factorable

play \ˈfak-t(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective

Recent Examples of factor from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of factor


Financial Definition of FACTOR

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.



FACTOR Defined for English Language Learners

factor

noun

Definition of factor for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of factor for English Language Learners

  • : to consider or include (something) in making a judgment or calculation

  • : to not consider or include (something) in making a judgment or calculation


FACTOR Defined for Kids

1

factor

noun fac·tor \ ˈfak-tər \

Definition of factor for Students

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.

2

factor

verb

Definition of factor for Students

factored; factoring
1 : to be considered in making a judgment
  • Class participation will factor into your grade.
2 : to find the factors of a number

Medical Dictionary

factor

noun fac·tor \ ˈfak-tər \

medical Definition of factor

1 a : 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

factorial

play \fak-ˈtōr-ē-əl, -ˈtȯr-\ adjective

Law Dictionary

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

Origin and Etymology of factor

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



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