I. fac ‧ tor 1 S3 W1 AC /ˈfæktə $ -ər/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: facteur , from Latin factor 'doer, maker' , from facere 'to do, make' ]
1 . CAUSE/INFLUENCE one of several things that influence or cause a situation:
The rise in crime is mainly due to social and economic factors.
The vaccination program has been a major factor in the improvement of health standards.
The weather could be a crucial factor in tomorrow’s game.
deciding/decisive/determining factor (=the most important factor)
We liked both houses, but price was the deciding factor.
2 . LEVEL ON A SCALE a particular level on a scale that measures how strong or effective something is:
factor 15 suntan oil
Even in July the wind chill factor (=the degree to which the air feels colder because of the wind) can be intense.
3 . by a factor of five/ten etc if something increases or decreases by a factor of five, ten etc, it increases or decreases by five times, ten times etc
4 . MATHEMATICS technical a number that divides into another number exactly:
3 is a factor of 15.
• • •
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + factor
▪ an important factor
Human influence has been an important factor as regards climate change.
▪ a major/minor factor (=the most or least important of several factors)
The country’s huge mineral reserves are a major factor behind its economic strength.
▪ a key/crucial factor (=a very important factor)
A key factor in a company’s success is knowing its customers.
▪ the deciding factor (=the reason for making a particular choice)
The closeness of the river was probably the deciding factor when the site was chosen.
▪ the decisive/determining factor (=the one that has the biggest effect)
The support of middle-income voters was the decisive factor in the election.
▪ a contributing factor (=one that helps to make something happen)
Stress is a contributing factor in many illnesses.
▪ economic factors
Economic factors limit our options.
▪ environmental factors
Various environmental factors affect the growth of grapes.
▪ social factors
Social factors have played their part in the decline in family sizes.
▪ a risk factor (=something that makes you more likely to have an illness)
The highest risk factor for coronary heart disease was found to be smoking.
▪ depend on certain factors
Success depends on certain factors.
▪ factors influence something
Various factors influenced the government’s decision.
▪ factors determine something
The final cost of the product was determined by a combination of factors.
▪ factors are responsible for something
These underlying factors were responsible for his death.
▪ a combination/variety/number of factors
A combination of factors led to the closure of the factory.
▪ take certain factors into account (=to consider factors when making a decision)
You should take all these factors into account.
II. factor 2 AC BrE AmE verb [transitive] American English technical
to divide a number into factors
factor something ↔ in ( also factor something into something ) phrasal verb technical
to include a particular thing in your calculations about how long something will take, how much it will cost etc
factor something ↔ out phrasal verb technical
to not include something in your calculations about how long something will take, how much it will cost etc