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 into factor 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

Racial disparities in San Francisco’s criminal justice system are driven by downstream factors like arrests, Gascón said, adding that the district attorney’s office does not exacerbate the disparities. Evan Sernoffsky, SFChronicle.com, "SF DA Gascón launching tool to remove race when deciding to charge suspects," 12 June 2019 Compiled as The World Happiness Report, 156 nations were ranked based upon how happy their citizenry see themselves, using factors like economic wealth, life expectancy, social support, freedom of choice and levels of government corruption. Pat Lenhoff, Lake County News-Sun, "Column: Loose Ends — the summer edition," 12 June 2019 The company also considered factors like pet-friendly restaurants and hotels. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Denver Post, "Colorado pet lovers, unite: Oregon beat us out as the most pet-friendly state," 12 June 2019 Adjusting for factors like the size of the mining facilities (bigger ones can be cooled more efficiently) and the average emissions in popular regions for mining, Stoll’s team estimated Bitcoin’s CO2 emissions at about 22 megatons per year. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Bitcoin's Climate Impact Is Global. The Cures Are Local.," 12 June 2019 All of these are obviously driven by many, many factors. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Ross Douthat Describes the Crisis of the Conservative Coalition," 7 June 2019 Dog-friendly patios Note: Dog-friendly dining is outdoors and can depend on several factors, including the weather, how busy the restaurant is and who is working. Dallas News, "Dog About Town: Parties in the park and on the patio and more things to do," 7 June 2019 To further account for real-life factors, USA TODAY applied the federal tax rate for single filers to each salary figure to estimate elementary teachers’ take-home pay in each metro. USA Today, "'Can't pay their bills with love': For many teaching jobs, teachers' pay can't cover rent," 5 June 2019 The April study was based not only on the wage gap, but other factors like unemployment, percentage of female business owners and parental leave policies. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit ranked top place for women in the workplace, new study shows," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Our approach seems valid because Pac-12 Networks expenses are removed but all revenue is factored into the amount allocated for grants, including the very media revenue the Pac-12 Networks are generating. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Comparing Pac-12 expenses to other Power Fives: Is spending in San Francisco reasonable or excessive?," 12 June 2019 Viewers may understandably feel a sense of déjà vu when watching Dark Phoenix, the 12th film in the X-Men franchise once spinoffs like Logan and the Deadpool are factored in. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men franchise is still Marvel’s weird, mutant cinematic stepchild," 5 June 2019 How this will factor into their royal lives remains to be seen. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The Controversy Behind Who Got to Cover Meghan and Harry’s Royal Baby Reveal," 8 May 2019 In preseason accounting of costs and profits, the cost of the bobbleheads was already factored into the season's ticket prices, Dimengo noted. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds argue in front of Ohio Supreme Court: No taxes on Reds bobbleheads," 13 June 2018 That doesn’t take into account how special teams would factor into a final decision, or all the things that could happen between now and the final September cutdown. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Matt Jones is running for his football life with Eagles | Bob Ford," 7 June 2018 Johnston went on to question how classroom instruction factored into Triton’s priorities. Anna Bybee-schier, chicagotribune.com, "Triton College faculty talk contract frustrations at standing-room only board meeting," 18 May 2018 Nevertheless, some companies still struggle to quantify geopolitical risks and factor them into operational plans, Ms. Goujon said. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Changing Role of Corporate Compliance Calls for Communication," 17 Apr. 2019 Immigrant students' test results start factoring into the school grade two years after their arrival, administrators said. Lena Jackson, Brenda Medina And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "These immigrants came for a better education. Now, they'll never graduate high school | Miami Herald," 16 May 2018

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

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on factor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with factor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for factor

Spanish Central: Translation of factor

Nglish: Translation of factor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of factor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about factor

Comments on factor

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