AskDefine | Define factor

Dictionary Definition



1 anything that contributes causally to a result; "a number of factors determined the outcome"
2 an abstract part of something; "jealousy was a component of his character"; "two constituents of a musical composition are melody and harmony"; "the grammatical elements of a sentence"; "a key factor in her success"; "humor: an effective ingredient of a speech" [syn: component, constituent, element, ingredient]
3 any of the numbers (or symbols) that form a product when multiplied together
4 one of two or more integers that can be exactly divided into another integer; "what are the 4 factors of 6?" [syn: divisor]
5 a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission [syn: agent, broker]
6 an independent variable in statistics
7 (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; "genes were formerly called factors" [syn: gene, cistron] v : resolve into factors; "a quantum computer can factor the number 15" [syn: factor in, factor out]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin factor, doer or maker, from perfect passive participle factus, done or made, from verb facere, do or make



  1. A doer, maker; a person who does things for another person or organization
    The factor of the trading post bought the furs.
  2. An integral part
    The greatest factor in the decision was the need for public transportation.
    The economy was a factor in this year's budget figures.
  3. Any of various objects multiplied together to form some whole
    3 is a factor of 12, as are 2, 4 and 6.
    The factors of the Klein four-group are both cyclic of order 2.
  4. (Root Cause Analysis) Influence; a phenomenon that affects the nature, the magnitude, and/or the timing of a consequence
    The launch temperature was a factor of the Challenger disaster.


  • 1956 — Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars, p 38
    The first thousand primes...marched in order before him...the complete sequence of all those numbers that possessed no factors except themselves and unity.


doer, maker
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (dàishāng)
  • Danish: agent
  • Finnish: tekijä, edustaja
integral part
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (yīn)
  • Danish: faktor
  • Finnish: tekijä
  • German: Faktor
  • Hebrew: ,
mathematical sense
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (shù)
  • Danish: faktor
  • Estonian: tegur
  • Finnish: tekijä
  • German: Faktor
  • Hebrew:
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (yīn)
  • Danish: faktor
  • Finnish: tekijä
  • German: Faktor
  • Hebrew:


  1. To find all the factors of (a number or other mathematical object) (the objects that divide it evenly).
  2. In the context of "of a number or other mathematical object|intransitive": To be a product of other objects.


to find all factors of a number



From verb facere, do or make


factor, genitive factoris, plural factores
  1. doer, maker; one who or which does or makes something



  1. factor

Extensive Definition

A factor, a Latin word meaning 'who/which acts' may refer to:
In science:
In mathematics:
  • Factorization the decomposition of an object into a product of other objects
  • Integer factorization, the process of breaking down a composite number into smaller non-trivial divisors
  • a coefficient
  • a divisor of a particular number, or of an element of a monoid
  • a von Neumann algebra with a trivial center
  • In easier words: A number that takes part in a multiplication giving a particular number.
In technology:
  • Human factors, a profession that focuses on how people interact with products, tools, or procedures
  • "Functionality, Application domain, Conditions, Technology, Objects and Responsibility;", In object-oriented programming
In computer science and information technology:
In television:

See also

factor in Danish: Faktor
factor in German: Faktor
factor in French: Facteur
factor in Ido: Faktoro
factor in Dutch: Factor
factor in Norwegian: Faktor
factor in Romanian: Factor
factor in Simple English: Factor
factor in Slovak: Faktor
factor in Finnish: Faktori
factor in Swedish: Faktor

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Altmann theory, DNA, De Vries theory, Federal, Galtonian theory, MC, Mendelianism, Mendelism, RNA, Verworn theory, Weismann theory, Weismannism, Wiesner theory, adjunct, adjutant, agency, agent, aid, allele, allelomorph, amanuensis, antecedent, antecedents, appraise, appurtenance, article, aspect, assess, assignee, assistant, attorney, backer, baggage agent, bailiff, banker, base, basis, birth, business agent, butler, call, case, catalog, categorize, causation, cause, cause and effect, character, chromatid, chromatin, chromosome, circumstance, claim agent, class, classify, clerk, coadjutor, commercial agent, commission agent, component, consideration, consignee, constituent, contents, count, croupier, curator, custodian, customer agent, datum, deputy, detail, determinant, determinative, determiner, diathesis, dupe, element, emcee, endowment, etiology, eugenics, evaluate, facet, fact, feature, fed, federal agent, financier, fixings, freight agent, functionary, gauge, gene, general agent, genesiology, genetic code, genetics, go-between, ground, grounds, group, guardian, helper, hereditability, heredity, heritability, heritage, housekeeper, identify, implement, inborn capacity, incidental, influence, ingredient, inheritability, inheritance, instance, instrument, instrumentality, insurance agent, integrant, intermediary, item, land agent, landreeve, law agent, lender, librarian, literary agent, loan agent, majordomo, makings, master of ceremonies, matrocliny, matter, means, middleman, minor detail, minutia, minutiae, moneylender, news agent, occasion, official, parliamentary agent, part, part and parcel, particular, passenger agent, patrocliny, pharmacogenetics, piece, point, press agent, principle, proctor, procurator, proxy, puppet, purchasing agent, real estate agent, recessive character, regard, replication, representative, respect, sales agent, secretary, seneschal, sift, sort, sort out, special agent, specialty, station agent, steward, stimulus, theatrical agent, thing, thrash out, ticket agent, tool, travel agent, walking delegate, weigh, winnow
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