from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that actively contributes to an accomplishment, result, or process: synonym: element.
  • noun One who acts for someone else; an agent.
  • noun One who purchases accounts receivable at a discount.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A quantity by which a stated quantity is multiplied or divided, so as to indicate an increase or decrease in a measurement.
  • noun A gene. No longer in technical usage.
  • noun Physiology A substance that functions in a specific biochemical reaction or bodily process, such as blood coagulation.
  • transitive verb To determine or indicate explicitly the factors of.
  • intransitive verb To engage in purchasing accounts receivable at a discount.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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, xy is factored into (x + y) (x—y).
  • To act as factor.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun One who transacts business for another or others; specifically, in com., a commission-merchant; an agent intrusted with the possession of goods for sale.
  • noun 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.
  • noun An agent or a deputy generally.
  • noun In American law, in some of the United States, a person charged as a garnishee.
  • noun 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.
  • noun One of several circumstances, elements, or influences which tend to the production of a given result.
  • noun See the adjectives.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb (Mach.) To resolve (a quantity) into its factors.
  • noun (Law) 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.
  • noun Scot. A steward or bailiff of an estate.
  • noun (Math.) One of the elements or quantities which, when multiplied together, form a product.
  • noun One of the elements, circumstances, or influences which contribute to produce a result; a constituent; a contributory cause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun an abstract part of something
  • noun any of the numbers (or symbols) that form a product when multiplied together
  • verb consider as relevant when making a decision
  • noun (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
  • verb be a contributing factor
  • noun a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission
  • noun one of two or more integers that can be exactly divided into another integer
  • noun an independent variable in statistics
  • verb resolve into factors
  • noun 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