From Latin factorium (place of doers, makers). Equivalent to factor +‎ -y. Compare Middle French factorie; Italian fattoria, Spanish factoría, Portuguese feitoria, Dutch factorij.





factory (plural factories)

  1. (chiefly Scotland, now rare) The position or state of being a factor. [from 16th c.]
  2. (historical) A trading establishment, especially set up by merchants working in a foreign country. [from 16th c.]
    • 1792, James Boswell, in Danziger & Brady (eds.), Boswell: The Great Biographer (Journals 1789–1795), Yale 1989, p. 184:
      We had here his curate, Mr. Furley, who had been nine years chaplain to the English factory at St. Petersburg [] .
  3. A building or other place where manufacturing takes place. [from 17th c.]
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter VII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      [] St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London. Close-packed, crushed by the buttressed height of the railway viaduct, rendered airless by huge walls of factories, it at once banished lively interest from a stranger's mind and left only a dull oppression of the spirit.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      The highway to the East Coast which ran through the borough of Ebbfield had always been a main road and even now, despite the vast garages, the pylons and the gaily painted factory glasshouses which had sprung up beside it, there still remained an occasional trace of past cultures.
    Synonym: manufactory
    History has shown that, even without cheap labor, factories run perfectly well.
  4. (UK, slang) A police station. [from 19th c.]
    • 2010, Harry Keeble, Kris Hollington, Crack House:
      The guys all knew each other and we were having a jolly old chinwag as we marched them out of the house in front of their stunned neighbours and into a van we had called to take them all to the Factory (police station).
  5. A device or process that produces or manufactures something.
    • 2009, Sam Riley, Star Struck: An Encyclopedia of Celebrity Culture, page 200:
      Radio became a star factory for journalists.
  6. A factory farm.
    chicken factory; pig factory
  7. (programming) In a computer program or library, a function, method, etc. which creates an object.
    • 2010, Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi, William Bartholomew, Inside the Microsoft Build Engine:
      The task factory [] is the object that is responsible for creating instances of those tasks dynamically.



Derived terms



  • Tok Pisin: faktori
  • Welsh: ffatri


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading




factory (not comparable)

  1. (colloquial, of a configuration, part, etc.) Having come from the factory in the state it is currently in; original, stock.
    See how there's another layer of metal there? That's not factory.