factor

factor
aside from its technical senses, means ‘a fact or circumstance that contributes to a result’, and the notion of cause lies at the heart of its use, as in Gladstone's sentence (1878) The first factor in the making of a nation is its religion. A modern example of its proper use is:

• Other factors can alter the Earth's climate from millennium to millennium and decade to decade —C. Tudge, 1991.

In recent years, however, factor has become widely used in a weakened meaning ‘consideration, aspect, feature’ with little or no notion of causality:

• A very important factor in the teaching of tennis is the value of practice once the lesson is over —Tennis World, 1991.

A new use dating from the 1980s involves a preceding noun as a defining word (originally the Falklands factor, then with successive connotations the Iraq factor) to denote an event which is considered to have a significant effect on the fortunes or politics of a country, political party, etc.:

• The continuation of the Iraq factor, uncertainty over the general economic situation and shaky stock markets all play their part —Birmingham Post, 2003.

The feel-good factor is a feeling of material security in society, which occasionally yields to the feel-bad factor.
The flagging fortunes of factor as a verb have been boosted with the evolution of the phrasal verb factor in, meaning ‘to include (a factor) in an assessment, plan, etc.’:

• All the political and military variables should be factored in before Israel decides on a response —Los Angeles Times, 1991.

It originated in business talk in AmE and has spread rapidly to British use, even achieving some general currency; factor out is also occasionally found:

• Busy lifestyles have created buildings which have factored out healthy living —Guardian, 2005.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Factor-X — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para el programa de televisión, véase Factor X (TV). Un wikipedista está trabajando actualmente en extender este artículo. Es posible que, a causa de ello, haya lagunas de contenido o deficiencias de formato. Por… …   Wikipedia Español

  • factor — FÁCTOR, factori, s.m. I. 1. Element, condiţie, împrejurare care determină apariţia unui proces, a unei acţiuni, a unui fenomen. 2. (mat.) Fiecare dintre termenii unei înmulţiri. ♢ Factor prim = fiecare dintre numerele prime prin care se împarte… …   Dicționar Român

  • Factor — Paradigmen: multiparadigmatisch Erscheinungsjahr: 2003 Designer: Slava Pestov Aktuelle Version: 0.94  (September 2010) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Factor 5 — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Factor 5, LLC Tipo Privada Fundación 1987 Sede San Rafael, California, Estados Unidos Administración …   Wikipedia Español

  • factor — fac·tor n [Medieval Latin, doer, maker, agent, from Latin, maker, from facere to do, make] 1: one who acts or transacts business for another: as a: a commercial agent who buys or sells goods for others on commission b: one that lends money to… …   Law dictionary

  • Factor 5 — LLC war eine deutsche und später US amerikanische Firma, die Computer und Videospiele entwickelte. Sie entstand aus der Hacker Gruppe The Light Circle und wurde 1987 in Köln als kleines Entwicklungsstudio für Computerspiele gegründet. Die 5 im… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Factor — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Un factor puede hacer referencia a: Factorización; operación matemática. Factorización de enteros Factor (lenguaje de programación) Factor X; grupo de superhéroes mutantes de Marvel Comics. Factor X (programa de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Factor Rh — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El Factor Rh es una proteína integral de la membrana aglutinógena que está presente en todas las células. Un 85% de la población tiene en esa proteína una estructura dominante, que corresponde a una determinada… …   Wikipedia Español

  • factor Rh — m. inmun. Factor Rhesus. Medical Dictionary. 2011. factor Rh …   Diccionario médico

  • FACTOR — may also refer to the Object Oriented programming requirements caputre acronym Functionality, Application domain, Conditions, Technology, Objects and Responsibility; FACTOR (the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records) is a private non… …   Wikipedia

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