I have seen several examples of companies called [Company Name] Factors. E.g. GMF Motor Factors and City Electrical Factors.

Given the nature of both of these companies, my best guess was that Factors has some connection to the word parts, but no definition of factors I can find tallies up with this. The best meaning I can find is from Wikipedia which gives one definition as

A factor, Latin for "doer, maker" (from Latin facit, "he/she/it does/makes"), is a mercantile fiduciary who receives and sells goods on commission (called factorage), transacting business in his own name and not disclosing his principal, and historically with his seat at a factory (trading post).

Is this the meaning of factors being used in these company names?

  • Please explain why the research you have presented does not answer your question!
    – user66974
    Jul 14, 2017 at 8:37
  • @Josh, Because I'm not sure if that's the right meaning!
    – Darren
    Jul 14, 2017 at 8:39
  • 1
    I presented material from different sources to confirm that the meaning is the right one. What else are you looking for? It is a regional thing (UK/Ireland) that has become uncommon is ordinary usage. It appears it has survived mainly in company logos.
    – user66974
    Jul 14, 2017 at 8:40
  • 2
    @Josh your answer was correct, you could undelete it. Darren, you're unsure if that's the right meaning, but it turns out that it is, and Josh was confirming that. "An agent who buys and sells, or transacts other business, on behalf of another person or company, usually one based in a different place, on commission; a mercantile agent; a commission agent." - OED (By the way, this is the top definition in OED, the oldest meaning of the word, and the one that draws directly from its French and Latin etymons) Jul 14, 2017 at 8:44
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    You don't have to actually accept any answer, you can always wait for more users to answer. I was just encouraging the undeletion of that answer. There's always a chance someone will find another meaning that applies. Who knows? But I think based on the definitions I've seen that this is most likely what you're looking for. Jul 14, 2017 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


A factor is, per OED:

An agent who buys and sells, or transacts other business, on behalf of another person or company, usually one based in a different place, on commission; a mercantile agent; a commission agent.

The term was once commonly used to define trading managers working for the East India Trading Company.

This meaning is in rare use today compared to other meanings of the word "factor," but it seems to carry a business-sense meaning that persists, and might be part of the reason it is found in so many business names, particularly British.

A factor is a financial intermediary that purchases receivables from a company. A factor is essentially a funding source that agrees to pay the company the value of the invoice less a discount for commission and fees. The factor advances most of the invoiced amount to the company immediately and the balance upon receipt of funds from the invoiced party.

It's also possible that the decision by these companies to use the word was influenced by OED definition II, which is in more common use today:

An element or constituent, esp. one which contributes to or influences a process or result.

Or 7.a.:

An element which enters into the composition of something; a circumstance, fact, or influence which contributes to a result.

These definitions carry with them a sense of importance and significance, which lends itself as a useful term in marketing and branding. Furthermore, the terms carry a flavor of math and technology, which might be appealing to a company seeking to brand itself. Ultimately, why each company chose to use the word in their business name can only be subject to speculation.

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    a factory once was to a factor as a rectory is to a rector, which is why the place name Moose Factory doesn't mean a place that moose are made, but rather a place a factor lives that has moose near it. Jul 14, 2017 at 13:36
  • Good, maybe you have better luck with your answer.:)
    – user66974
    Jul 14, 2017 at 13:49
  • @Josh, you seem to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder because I dared to question your answer. Please get over it. There was no need to delete your answer, there was nothing incorrect about it, I was simply seeking some further confirmation.
    – Darren
    Jul 14, 2017 at 17:46
  • Factor is still used routinely in the intermediary sense in the retail clothing trade. Department store chains have been driven into bankruptcy by the refusal of the factors to extend further credit. Jul 14, 2017 at 17:46
  • @Darren - no chip, no shoulder, jus a little respect for anyone is trying to hepl you. Keep in mind!
    – user66974
    Jul 14, 2017 at 17:58

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