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 The board will try to determine the factors involved in the accident, and come up with recommendations on how to prevent them. Hal Bernton, Anchorage Daily News, "Coast Guard board to investigate sinking of Scandies Rose crab boat on New Year’s Eve," 26 Jan. 2020 Of course, your application is going to play a huge factor in the longevity of your mani, notes Campbell. Jamé Jackson, Allure, "The 9 Best White Nail Polishes You Can Buy," 25 Jan. 2020 Two key factors in Intel's results have bolstered Swan's case. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Intel’s fourth quarter boom blows its troubles away," 24 Jan. 2020 The State Department has to consider factors including national security, terrorism, international crime and foreign policy when items from the USML are purchased and exported. Josiah Bates, Time, "21 States File Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over 'Dangerous' Changes to Federal Firearm Regulations," 24 Jan. 2020 Sparty’s 3-point defense (28.1% — 8th NCAA-I), offensive depth, and trend toward fewer free throws allowed are compelling factors. Marcus Mosher, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Michigan State at Indiana college basketball odds, picks and best bets," 23 Jan. 2020 Once the alien force begins taking over in earnest, however, the film turns overloaded and incoherent by degrees, piling on too many underdeveloped factors. ... Detroit Free Press, "Other movies: Sci-fi tale 'Color Out of Space' goes over the top," 23 Jan. 2020 The study, from Oxfam and the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), zeroed in on how U.S. women and men spend their time and, in a twist, adjusted for factors such as educational attainment and work status. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Women do more grunt work at home, no matter their pay or education," 23 Jan. 2020 Various factors include your schooling, and both parents' ability to take care of you. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Teen wants to go live with Dad, Mom says no," 23 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Investors, meanwhile, must recognize the value of nature and the costs of its degradation, systematically factoring it into their decision-making, as the world's biggest fund manager BlackRock committed to last week. CNN, "Disasters like the Australia fires happen when businesses ignore the climate," 21 Jan. 2020 STDs factored in the study were HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "2 Alabama cities have some of highest levels of sexually transmitted diseases in the country," 14 Jan. 2020 The photos did not stand alone as objective truth, and the circumstances of their creation were factored into the court proceedings. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "What Is Even Going on Out There?," 10 Jan. 2020 The Reds ranked 12th among 15 National League teams with a .315 OBP last season, which factored into their offensive struggles despite a franchise-record 227 home runs. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds nearing a 3-year deal with Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama," 30 Dec. 2019 Notes from that meeting and other documents obtained through the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act shed more light on the back-and-forth with Brogdon and what factors the state considered leading up to the Nov. 4 denial. Arkansas Online, "Suit takes issue with state veto of licenses," 29 Dec. 2019 The mortality rate was so high plantation owners factored in the cost of bringing in new free labor from Africa every year. USA Today, "Slavery reparations stir contentious debate. Why Brown and other universities are trying to make things right," 17 Dec. 2019 But recent studies show a woman could receive a more individualized, accurate cancer risk estimate by factoring in other gene variants. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "'Polygenic' profile could better predict disease risk for those with cancer mutations," 17 Dec. 2019 To date, the Bears have averaged a 26.9 rating in their home market, a 5% drop from the same point a year ago despite a midseason adjustment in Nielsen’s ratings methodology, which have factored in out-of-home viewing since October. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Bears’ win over Cowboys was a hit nationally, but it was also their lowest-rated prime-time game locally this season," 6 Dec. 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

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factoring?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=f&file=factor02. Accessed 29 January 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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