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 factor (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

Other Words from factor

Noun

factorship \ ˈfak-​tər-​ˌship How to pronounce factor (audio) \ noun

Verb

factorable \ ˈfak-​t(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce factor (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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Speed or impairment are not believed to be a factor in the collision, police said. Brock Blasdell, The Arizona Republic, 11 May 2022 That lack of postseason success was a factor in his decision to request a trade. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, 11 May 2022 Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a contributing factor to the accident, troopers said. Anchorage Daily News, 10 May 2022 Make the change by publishing HR policies explicitly stating that hairstyle is not a factor in hiring or promotion. — The most impactful way to demonstrate support for authenticity is to demonstrate your own. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 Calhoun believes this new era of free agency was a contributing factor in the retirements of iconic coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 6 May 2022 That procedure might also have been a contributing factor to his eventual death. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 5 May 2022 The pandemic was certainly a contributing factor in the growing appeal of wellness design and spa bathrooms, the plumber and designer agree. Jamie Gold, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in the crash, police said. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 23 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The grass type and height can also factor into lawnmower run times. Better Homes & Gardens, 4 May 2022 All these things factor into healthy testosterone levels. Men's Health, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent concerns about rising prices also factor into the discussion about student loans and, relatedly, messaging for Democrats going into the midterms. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 28 Apr. 2022 Given these realities, simplicity will factor into and even drive tech decisions and employee adoption. Jaspreet Singh, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Good morning, Beginning this year, achieving ESG goals will now factor into bonus calculations for all employees, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach recently announced. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 27 Apr. 2022 However, individual episode submissions for the actors won’t factor in until the nominations are announced on July 12. Clayton Davis, Variety, 13 Apr. 2022 Perhaps Indiana taking a chance on him and his development will factor in. Joel Lorenzi, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Apr. 2022 Severity & location will factor into resulting recovery. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About factor

Time Traveler for factor

Time Traveler

The first known use of factor was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near factor

factoid

factor

factorage

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Statistics for factor

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Factor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for factor

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

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 factor (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

More from Merriam-Webster on factor

Nglish: Translation of factor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of factor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about factor

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