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 But as always with rocket launches, the weather along Florida's Space Coast may be a factor. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX and United Launch Alliance prepare back-to-back launches this weekend," 15 May 2020 Hiring, training and properly protecting lifeguards and other seasonal workers during the continuing spread of the coronavirus was also a factor in deciding to close, according to information provided in the press release. cleveland, "Concerns over COVID-19 sink plans to open Avon Aquatic Facility: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 15 May 2020 The higher cost of operating in America may have been a factor ahead of the decision. Time, "Taiwanese Chipmaker Plans to Build $12 Billion Factory in Arizona," 15 May 2020 The treatment of creditors, and the indebtedness of the reborn Virgin Australia, will be a key factor in deciding the winner, according to the industry experts. Angus Whitley, Bloomberg.com, "Bidders Are Lining Up to Buy Virgin Australia After Collapse," 15 May 2020 For his part, the vice president has said politics are not a factor in his travel itinerary. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Coronavirus spotlight shines a path for Mike Pence toward 2024," 15 May 2020 While economists attribute the swell in grocery prices to supply and demand issues, coupled with changing human behavior, some have publicly questioned whether price gouging could be a factor in some cases. Dianne Gallagher, CNN, "Grocers react to sharp spike in grocery food prices, consumer concerns of price-gouging," 13 May 2020 The English longbow was a powerful medieval weapon said to be able to pierce an opponent's armor and may have been a decisive factor in several key military victories, most notably the Battle of Agincourt. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Medieval arrows caused injuries similar to gunshot wounds, study finds," 13 May 2020 If there are places where density is a factor and theaters aren’t open, that’s okay. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged to be first major movie in theaters as they reopen," 12 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When experts factor in those additional cases, the mortality rate plummets to less than 0.2 percent. NBC News, "What can coronavirus antibody tests actually tell us?," 20 Apr. 2020 These highly publicized incidents are now factoring into many Americans’ decisions over whether to wear a mask in public. Time, "'It Conjures Up Every Racial Stereotype.' For Black Men, Homemade Masks May Be a Risk All Their Own," 16 Apr. 2020 Club seating and luxury suites are factored into their gate receipt calculation. Chandler Rome, ExpressNews.com, "Astros could lose over 40 percent of their revenue," 14 Apr. 2020 However, the stimulus checks some may receive from the federal government will not be factored in. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "What to know about food assistance benefits and how to get it in Michigan," 11 Apr. 2020 Jordan's beloved mama also factors into his stories, including one in which during a road trip with his twin sister, his mother debated with his sibling over the pronunciation of the Florida city Kissimmee. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Quarantine and Instagram are making Leslie Jordan the star he's always been," 10 Apr. 2020 All of that could factor into the NCAA decision about future Final Four sites. oregonlive, "Despite scrubbed NCAA regional, organizers convinced Portland would be ‘great host’ for Women’s Final Four," 3 Apr. 2020 Lack of playing time likely factored into the other departures as well. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Fourth ASU basketball player announces intent to transfer," 30 Mar. 2020 Meredith barely factors into these foundational storylines. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 Is Now On Netflix. Is Meredith Grey Still its Star?," 9 May 2020

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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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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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