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

These programs, often favored by programmers, deal with text in a purer form: as characters stored as bytes of data with no formatting, no page size. Rachel Z. Arndt, Popular Mechanics, "Why You Should Ditch Microsoft Word for NotePad," 8 Mar. 2019 The Bank of England doesn’t provide this type of data. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "Treasurers Consider Changes to Bank Accounts, Cash Pools Ahead of Brexit," 4 Mar. 2019 That kind of data is hard to piece together across such a giant video-sharing platform. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "YouTube tells impersonation victim: No, you’re not being impersonated," 6 Dec. 2018 Zuckerberg's ascent has been driven by investors' continued embrace of Facebook, the social network giant that shook off the fallout from a data privacy crisis that hammered its shares, sending them to an eight-month low of $152.22 on March 27. Tom Metcalf And Jack Witzig, chicagotribune.com, "Zuckerberg tops Buffett as world's 3rd-richest," 6 July 2018 The fact that your data is not disclosed in an Excel spreadsheet but through a click on a targeted ad is irrelevant. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why we can’t stop debating whether Facebook sells data," 14 Dec. 2018 Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. Kim Komando, Fox News, "Bitcoin crashing, Netflix offline and more: Tech Q&A," 22 Sep. 2018 The firm holds a stake of just over 8% of Metro Bank, according to data provider FactSet. Philip Georgiadis, WSJ, "Metro, Challenger to U.K.’s Banking Establishment, Drops One-Third in Value," 23 Jan. 2019 Given the limited scientific data available in humans, the remnants of your crunchy crudité provide antioxidants called flavones. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Celery Juice "Benefits" Are Total B.S., According to Nutrition Science," 16 Jan. 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.

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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

Dasyurus

DAT

dat

data

data bank

database

dataflow

Statistics for data

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for data

The first known use of data was in 1646

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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
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

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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

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