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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Taylor has the ability to play inside or outside, lining up wide for 373 snaps in 2018 and 147 times in the slot in 2017, according to data compiled by ProFootballFocus.com. Dan Labbe, cleveland.com, "Browns acquire Taywan Taylor from Titans," 31 Aug. 2019 By comparison, there are more than 150 moons for just the eight planets in the solar system, according to data compiled by NASA. Fox News, "Darth Vader's birthplace found? Evidence of dangerous volcano, lava world spotted in deep space," 30 Aug. 2019 Revenue for the category soared 10% last year, more than double the pace of growth for all spirits sold in the U.S., according to data compiled by industry advocate the Distilled Spirits Council. John Kell, Fortune, "Nick Jonas Is Working With Vodka-Maker Stoli to Launch a New Tequila," 28 Aug. 2019 That compares to a loss ratio of about 62% across all property and casualty insurance, according to data compiled by the NAIC of insurers that report to them. Ars Technica, "The Extortion Economy: Insurance companies and the rise in ransomware attacks," 27 Aug. 2019 That compares to a loss ratio of about 62% across all property and casualty insurance, according to data compiled by the NAIC of insurers that report to them. Renee Dudley, ProPublica, "The Extortion Economy: How Insurance Companies Are Fueling a Rise in Ransomware Attacks," 27 Aug. 2019 Share performance is among the most common metrics to determine payouts, appearing in about half of pay plans for the CEOs of the 181 companies that signed the pledge, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Los Angeles Times, "CEOs spurned the shareholders-first model. Now critics ask, ‘What’s next?’," 23 Aug. 2019 The most expensive home sold in Houston last month is a Spanish-style mega mansion designed by a famed architect credited with designing Rice University, according to data provided by the Houston Association of Realtors. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Spanish-style mansion designed by architect of Rice U. among Houston's priciest homes sold in July," 22 Aug. 2019 Abrams and Knighthead combined own 7.3% of PG&E, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E hedge fund owners propose $15 billion bankruptcy investment," 8 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of data

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for data

Latin, plural of datum — see datum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about data

Dictionary Entries near data

Dasyurus

dat

DAT

data

data bank

database

dataflow

Statistics for data

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for data

The first known use of data was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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
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.
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on data

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with data

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for data

Spanish Central: Translation of data

Nglish: Translation of data for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of data for Arabic Speakers

Comments on data

What made you want to look up data? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!