One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person employed as a subordinate to a factor; (Scottish) an assistant to a factor whose main duty is to collect rent. Now historical.
2A subordinate or subsidiary factor.
3Mathematics. A factor of a quantity that is itself a factor.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Lewes Roberts (1596–1641), merchant and author. From sub- + factor.
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