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 the biggest factor was lawmakers’ decision to extend the repayment period for the system’s deficit for eight years, effectively refinancing its rather massive debt, which increases cost and risk over time. oregonlive, "Oregon’s public pension fund had a solid year, just in time," 10 Jan. 2020 Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos, who is in first year with Houston, said on the SuperDraft broadcast that McLaughlin’s playmaking ability was the biggest factor in his selection. Angel Franco, Dallas News, "FC Dallas selects three ‘high-potential impact’ players in MLS SuperDraft," 10 Jan. 2020 Other moderate Republicans have sidestepped questions about potential witnesses, but just a handful peeling away could be the deciding factor. NBC News, "Sen. Susan Collins working with 'fairly small group' of Republicans to ensure witnesses at Trump's impeachment trial," 10 Jan. 2020 The swaying factor for us was her sheer determination to do something that was hard. New York Times, "I Hate Football. I Let My Daughter Play It Anyway.," 10 Jan. 2020 The limiting factor is that some citrus species and selections are cold sensitive. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Backyard fruit trees in San Antonio: What you need to know," 9 Jan. 2020 The other factor working against witnesses is some Republicans’ continued opposition to hearing fresh testimony and extending the process longer than necessary. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Senate Republicans soften on impeachment witnesses," 9 Jan. 2020 That, along with free-throw shooting, were the factors all cited after Saturday's loss. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU men's basketball team hits road for games against Oregon State, Oregon," 8 Jan. 2020 The fundamental economic factor is the unrelenting competition for market share and the need for individual companies to grow their audience of potential customers for products ranging from designer dresses to lipstick. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Otherwise, financial support needs to be factored into your post-retirement budget. Nerdwallet, oregonlive, "Retirement costs that could surprise you: 8 common budget-busters," 26 Dec. 2019 That would need to be factored into the government's calculations. Andrew Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "The weather is big business, and it’s veering toward a collision with the federal government," 3 Dec. 2019 So artists have begun to factor that into their work, even as #freethenipple lives on. New York Times, "Will Instagram Ever ‘Free the Nipple’?," 22 Nov. 2019 Sharma pointed out that viewers who turn to streaming will need to factor in the costs of a smart TV or an internet device and a high-speed internet plan. CBS News, "Streaming wars escalate with Disney+ launch, and it's "Netflix's game to lose"," 12 Nov. 2019 While his chances of winning at the ballot box seem slim, Hunter could still be enough of a presence to factor into the dynamics. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Battle for Rep. Hunter’s district won’t be pretty," 27 Sep. 2019 Credit raters and insurers are trying to factor in physical risks when evaluating borrowers and pricing premiums. The Economist, "Firms face physical, regulatory and legal risks from climate change," 21 Sep. 2019 Remember to factor in shipping when setting your sale price. Wired, "5 Ways to Sell or Trade In Your Old iPhone," 11 Sep. 2019 The Milwaukee Brewers added to their cadre of relievers Tuesday, although their latest addition isn't expected to factor into the team's attempted push for the postseason. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Back from Brewers' 'pitching lab,' Corbin Burnes thinks he's finally turned the corner," 3 Sep. 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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factorship?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=f&file=factor03. Accessed 25 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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