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 Overall, state data shows more than half of residents 16 and older have received at least a first shot. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Ramadan rules, Flags of Hope, zoo overnights: News from around our 50 states," 12 Apr. 2021 Court capacity more than tripled almost immediately last summer as the upgrades began, and the system is now almost disposing of as many cases each month as are added to the caseload, court data show. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Clobbered by COVID-19, Connecticut courts are ramping back up to speed with new virtual hearing technology," 12 Apr. 2021 Climate activists have scorned blockchain technology—or, specifically, cryptocurrency mining—for the pollution produced in order to power the data centers that sustain the blockchain. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Switching to renewable energy is sometimes dirty. Tech like blockchain can help," 12 Apr. 2021 Over 4 million vaccine doses had been administered statewide as of Monday, with more than 2.5 million people having received at least one dose and close to 1.7 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, state data show. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "New indoor vaccine site at ASU's Desert Financial Arena replaces outdoor Phoenix Municipal site," 12 Apr. 2021 Nuance and Microsoft will deepen their existing commitments to the extended partner ecosystem, as well as the highest standards of data privacy, security and compliance. Chris Smith, BGR, "Microsoft just made a $20 billion bet on the future of computing," 12 Apr. 2021 Facebook is being sued for weakening data protections. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Antitrust and Privacy Are on a Collision Course," 12 Apr. 2021 The pandemic confirmed Northern Virginia’s position as the nation’s premier site for data centers. Washington Post, "Silver lining: Pandemic triggers booms in D.C. region’s biotech, data center industries," 12 Apr. 2021 This week, that number will plummet to 67,600, an 88% drop, CDC data show. Los Angeles Times, "L.A., other areas giving everyone 16 and up COVID-19 vaccine. What you need to know," 12 Apr. 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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Statistics for data

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Data.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data. Accessed 16 Apr. 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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on data

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for data

Nglish: Translation of data for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of data for Arabic Speakers

Comments on data

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