Meaning of factor

fac•tor

Pronunciation: (fak'tur), [key]
— n.
  1. one of the elements contributing to a particular result or situation: Poverty is only one of the factors in crime.
  2. one of two or more numbers, algebraic expressions, or the like, that when multiplied together produce a given product; a divisor: 6 and 3 are factors of 18.
  3. any of certain substances necessary to a biochemical or physiological process, esp. those whose exact nature and function are unknown.
  4. a business organization that lends money on accounts receivable or buys and collects accounts receivable.
  5. a person who acts or transacts business for another; an agent.
  6. an agent entrusted with the possession of goods to be sold in the agent's name; a merchant earning a commission by selling goods belonging to others.
  7. a person or business organization that provides money for another's new business venture; one who finances another's business.
  8. See
  9. the steward or bailiff of an estate.
—v.t.
  1. to express (a mathematical quantity) as a product of two or more quantities of like kind, as 30 = 2&syl;3&syl;5, or x − y = (x + y) (x − y). Cf. expand (def. 4a).
  2. to act as a factor for.
—v.i.
  1. to act as a factor.
  2. to include as an essential element, esp. in forecasting or planning: You must factor insurance payments into the cost of maintaining a car.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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