from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that actively contributes to an accomplishment, result, or process: "Surprise is the greatest factor in war” ( Tom Clancy). See Synonyms at element.
  • n. One who acts for someone else; an agent.
  • n. A person or firm that accepts accounts receivable as security for short-term loans.
  • n. Mathematics One of two or more quantities that divides a given quantity without a remainder. For example, 2 and 3 are factors of 6; a and b are factors of ab.
  • n. A quantity by which a stated quantity is multiplied or divided, so as to indicate an increase or decrease in a measurement: The rate increased by a factor of ten.
  • n. A gene. No longer in technical usage.
  • n. Physiology A substance that functions in a specific biochemical reaction or bodily process, such as blood coagulation.
  • transitive v. To determine or indicate explicitly the factors of.
  • factor in To figure in: We factored sick days and vacations in when we prepared the work schedule.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A doer, maker; a person who does things for another person or organization
  • n. An agent or representative.
  • n. An integral part
  • n. Any of various objects multiplied together to form some whole
  • n. Influence; a phenomenon that affects the nature, the magnitude, and/or the timing of a consequence
  • n. A resource used in the production of goods or services, a factor of production.
  • v. To find all the factors of (a number or other mathematical object) (the objects that divide it evenly).
  • v. To be a product of other objects.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who transacts business for another; an agent; a substitute; especially, a mercantile agent who buys and sells goods and transacts business for others in commission; a commission merchant or consignee. He may be a home factor or a foreign factor. He may buy and sell in his own name, and he is intrusted with the possession and control of the goods; and in these respects he differs from a broker.
  • n. A steward or bailiff of an estate.
  • n. One of the elements or quantities which, when multiplied together, form a product.
  • n. One of the elements, circumstances, or influences which contribute to produce a result; a constituent; a contributory cause.
  • transitive v. To resolve (a quantity) into its factors.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act as factor for; look after, let, and draw the rents for; manage: as, to factor property.
  • In mathematics, to resolve into factors: as, x—y is factored into (x + y) (x—y).
  • To act as factor.
  • n. One who transacts business for another or others; specifically, in com., a commission-merchant; an agent intrusted with the possession of goods for sale.
  • n. In Scotland, a person appointed by a heritor, landholder, or house-proprietor to manage an estate, to let lands or tenements on lease, to collect rents, etc.
  • n. An agent or a deputy generally.
  • n. In American law, in some of the United States, a person charged as a garnishee.
  • n. In mathematics, one of the two or more numbers, expressions, or quantities which when multiplied together produce a given product: as, 6 and 3 are factors of 18.
  • n. One of several circumstances, elements, or influences which tend to the production of a given result.
  • n. See the adjectives.
  • n. In electricity, in alternating current-waves, a constant which characterizes the shape of the wave: usually defined as the ratio of the effective value of the wave to the effective value of a sine wave of equal mean value.
  • n. Specifically, in an engine, the ratio of the difference between the maximum and mean turning moments to the mean turning moment. This factor determines the weight of the fly-wheel necessary to make the engine run steadily, the function of the fly-wheel being the storing up of energy at the time of the maximum turning moment, or when it is greater than the mean, and the giving up of that energy when the turning moment is less than the mean.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an abstract part of something
  • n. any of the numbers (or symbols) that form a product when multiplied together
  • v. consider as relevant when making a decision
  • n. (genetics) a segment of DNA that is involved in producing a polypeptide chain; it can include regions preceding and following the coding DNA as well as introns between the exons; it is considered a unit of heredity
  • v. be a contributing factor
  • n. a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission
  • n. one of two or more integers that can be exactly divided into another integer
  • n. an independent variable in statistics
  • v. resolve into factors
  • n. anything that contributes causally to a result


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English factour, perpetrator, agent, from Old French facteur, from Latin factor, maker, from facere, to make; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin factor ("a doer, maker, performer"), from factus ("done or made"), perfect passive participle of faciō ("do, make").



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  • in the sense of business manager of an estate (in Scotland):

    "I think the factor had invitit him."
    Dorothy L. Sayers, The Five Red Herrings

    December 26, 2015