Dictionary

data

noun plural but singular or plural in construction, da·ta often attributive \ˈdā-tə, ˈda- also ˈdä-\

: facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something

: information that is produced or stored by a computer

Full Definition of DATA

1
:  factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation <the data is plentiful and easily available — H. A. Gleason, Jr.> <comprehensive data on economic growth have been published — N. H. Jacoby>
2
:  information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful
3
:  information in numerical form that can be digitally transmitted or processed

Usage Discussion of DATA

Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural. It occurs in two constructions: as a plural noun (like earnings), taking a plural verb and plural modifiers (as these, many, a few) but not cardinal numbers, and serving as a referent for plural pronouns (as they, them); and as an abstract mass noun (like information), taking a singular verb and singular modifiers (as this, much, little), and being referred to by a singular pronoun (it). Both constructions are standard. The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it.

Examples of DATA

  1. Smith, himself a stay-at-home dad and a journalist, mixes accessible summaries of social-science data with anecdotes drawn from interviews with couples in which the men have chosen, or have been compelled by economic circumstance, to become primary caregivers to their children. —Eduardo M. Pealver, Commonweal,11 Sept. 2009

Origin of DATA

Latin, plural of datum (see datum)
First Known Use: 1646

Other Computer-Related Terms

adware, flash, kludge, phishing, recursive, router

Rhymes with DATA

data

noun plural but singular or plural in construction da·ta \ˈdāt-ə, ˈdat-, ˈdät-\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of DATA

:  factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation <the data is plentiful and easily available—H. A. Gleason, Jr.> <comprehensive data on the incidence of Lyme disease>

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