noun da·tum \ˈdā-təm, ˈda-, ˈdä-\

: a single piece of information

Full Definition of DATUM

plural da·ta \-ə\ :  something given or admitted especially as a basis for reasoning or inference
plural datums :  something used as a basis for calculating or measuring

Usage Discussion of DATUM

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 DATUM

  1. <let's begin our discussion of this matter with a datum from actual experience>

Origin of DATUM

Latin, from neuter of datus
First Known Use: 1646

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

abscissa, denominator, divisor, equilateral, exponent, hypotenuse, logarithm, oblique, radii, rhomb

Rhymes with DATUM

DATUMS Defined for Kids


noun da·tum \ˈdā-təm, ˈda-, ˈdä-\
plural da·ta \-tə\ or da·tums

Definition of DATUM for Kids

:  a single piece of information :  fact


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