Definition of factor noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈfæktə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfæktər//
    Mathematical terminology
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  1. 1  [countable] one of several things that cause or influence something economic factors The closure of the mine was the single most important factor in the town's decline. the key/crucial/deciding factor The result will depend on a number of different factors Language BankcauseX causes Y Childhood obesity can cause/lead to long-term health problems. Changes in lifestyle and diet over the last twenty years have caused/led to/resulted in a sharp increase in childhood obesity. Several factors, including changes in diet and lifestyle, have contributed to the increase in childhood obesity. Research suggests that fast food and soft drinks directly contribute to childhood obesity. Genetics, lifestyle and diet are all important factors in cases of childhood obesity. Even small changes in lifestyle and diet can bring about significant weight loss.
  2. 2 [countable] (mathematics) a number that divides into another number exactly 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12 are the factors of 12. See related entries: Mathematical terminology
  3. 3[countable] the amount by which something increases or decreases The real wage of the average worker has increased by a factor of over ten in the last 70 years.
  4. 4[countable] a particular level on a scale of measurement a suntan lotion with a protection factor of 10 The wind-chill factor will make it seem colder.
  5. 5 [uncountable] (medical) a substance in the blood that helps the clotting process. There are several types of this substance Haemophiliacs have no factor 8 in their blood
  6. Word Origin late Middle English (meaning ‘doer’, also in the Scots sense ‘agent’): from French facteur or Latin factor, from fact- ‘done’, from the verb facere.Extra examples A variety of other factors will be taken into account. External factors in the production of disease include pollution of the environment. Look for the common factor in all these cases. Money proved to be the deciding factor. Poor organization was certainly a contributory factor to the crisis. Studies have established that smoking is a risk factor for cancer. The appeal judges spoke of strong mitigating factors in the case. The human factor is crucial to success in team management. The outcome will depend on a number of factors. There are several factors at play here. This is regarded as the crucial factor in deciding who should get priority. We examine how economic and social factors interact. a key factor in the decision environmental factors which predispose children to middle-ear infections one of the factors that influenced his decision one of the most significant factors the contextual factors which operate to hinder understanding the main factors behind the dollar’s weaknessIdioms (British English) (used especially in newspapers, etc.) the feeling of confidence in the future that is shared by many people After the recession, people were waiting for the return of the feel-good factor before starting to spend money again. See related entries: Happiness
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: factor