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 idea that success begets success, irrespective of other factors, persists in other fields, too, such as investing and gambling. The Economist, "Daily chart Success does not always breed success, at least in basketball," 29 May 2020 The inflection point mainly reflects a steep drop in the use of coal as source of electricity, as well as steady growth in wind and solar power, trends driven by economic as well as environmental factors. Katherine Blunt, WSJ, "U.S. Consumed More Renewables Than Coal for First Time in 134 Years," 28 May 2020 What a voter needs to access and feel safe at the ballot box depends on a host of factors, including, in some cases, her gender. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Women are more worried than men about coronavirus. Cecile Richards doesn’t want that to keep female voters from the polls," 28 May 2020 Because of this and other combinations of factors, the Bipartisan Policy Center now estimates the aforementioned trust fund will be depleted in 2029 – six years sooner. Nathan Bachrach And Amy Wagner, Cincinnati.com, "Simply Money: How COVID-19 could impact Social Security," 27 May 2020 McKinney's earlier announcement to shut down nuvo.net mentioned the coronavirus pandemic as a contributing factor. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Nuvo cancels plans to shut down, citing reduced costs for website operations," 26 May 2020 These observations, combined with the fact that more powerful, distant earthquakes didn’t produce detectable landslides, suggests to Fan that earthquake strength might not be the main factor that determines whether a landslide occurs in the Gulf. National Geographic, "Underwater landslides in the Gulf of Mexico, 2008-2015," 19 May 2020 The Safe Passage Study also determines the outcomes of prenatal exposures and how they're affected by environmental and lifestyle factors. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Any level of drinking or smoking while pregnant may affect your newborn's brain development, study says," 12 May 2020 The driver of the truck remained at the scene and impairment did not appear to be a contributing factor. James Carr, azcentral, "Woman on a bicycle hit and killed in Phoenix," 10 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The production of cotton, Thomas explains, has always been a nasty business, even without factoring in the history of slavery. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 Bill Hader repeated his lead win for Barry — helping HBO on its path to be the biggest Emmy winner of 2019, especially after factoring in the strong showing at the previous weekend’s Creative Arts ceremonies. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys Wrap-Up: 'Fleabag' and Other Upsets Overshadow 'Game of Thrones'," 23 Sep. 2019 That’s without factoring in sales of ratings data feeds and credit research. Washington Post, "Cash Isn’t King When It’s Missing. In China, It May Be," 5 June 2019 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

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

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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