da·​ta | \ ˈdā-tə How to pronounce data (audio) , ˈda- How to pronounce data (audio) also ˈdä- How to pronounce data (audio) \

Definition of data

1 : factual information (such 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 in digital form that can be transmitted or processed
3 : information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful

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Synonyms for data

Synonyms

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Is data singular or plural?: Usage Guide

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 (such as these, many, a few) but not cardinal numbers, and serving as a referent for plural pronouns (such as they, them); and as an abstract mass noun (like information), taking a singular verb and singular modifiers (such 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 in a Sentence

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 He plays Chuck Bartowski, a computer-tech expert with the Buy More store's Nerd Herd … who unwittingly becomes a secret agent when government data is downloaded to his brain. — Michael Logan, TV Guide, September 10-16, 2007 As measurements get better and more data pour in, physicists will bring those errors under control and chart exciting new territory. But for many, the wait is a strain. — Charles Seife, Science, 2 May 2003 By studying obscure demographic and economic data, he deduced that the Soviets were in crisis—and spending a far bigger slice of its national income on defense than anyone had suspected. — John Barry et al., Newsweek, 21 May 2001
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Recent Examples on the Web President Biden tried to put an upbeat spin on the new data. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2021 Andrew Ng are bringing attention to the importance of systematic work on data. Davit Buniatyan, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 The list below is based on data from Wards Auto's inventory report, which details the number of vehicles in stock nationwide as of the end of September. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 8 Oct. 2021 Each decade, the Legislature redraws the lines for the state's U.S. representatives based on that data. Rachel Herzog, Arkansas Online, 8 Oct. 2021 As a result, Thursday’s update is based on data collected from Sept. 27-Oct.3. Alexis Oatman, cleveland, 7 Oct. 2021 In total, El Cajon estimates there are 300 businesses leasing property from the county, and that based on El Cajon business license data, as many as 3,500 people are employed at those businesses. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Oct. 2021 The district’s board voted to require masks in school buildings on Aug. 17, a week before students returned to the classrooms on Aug. 23, but gave Superintendent Brian Woods the ability to change the policy based on local health data. Danya Perez, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Oct. 2021 That was by far the highest level on FactSet data stretching back to 2013 and equivalent to $187.11 a megawatt-hour. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'data.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of data

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for data

Latin, plural of datum — see datum

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Learn More About data

Dictionary Entries Near data

dat

data

data bank

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Statistics for data

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Data.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data. Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for data

data

noun

English Language Learners Definition of data

: facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something
: information that is produced or stored by a computer

data

noun plural
da·​ta | \ ˈdā-tə How to pronounce data (audio) , ˈda-tə \

Kids Definition of data

1 : facts about something that can be used in calculating, reasoning, or planning
2 : information expressed as numbers for use especially in a computer
Hint: Data can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking. This data is useful. These data have been questioned.

data

noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
da·​ta | \ ˈdāt-ə How to pronounce data (audio) , ˈdat- How to pronounce data (audio) , ˈdät- How to pronounce data (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on data

Nglish: Translation of data for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of data for Arabic Speakers

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