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 Population changes are estimated using data on births, deaths and migration. Mike Schneider, chicagotribune.com, "With ability to work remotely during pandemic, thousands left big cities to be near family in smaller ones, study shows," 6 May 2021 The World Health Organization had recently estimated the efficiency of the Sinopharm vaccine as just over 78 percent for adults under 60, with little data on its success with older patients. Washington Post, "Why the world’s most vaccinated country is seeing an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases," 6 May 2021 Population changes are estimated using data on births, deaths and migration. Mike Schneider, ajc, "Study: Residents left big metros during pandemic for family," 6 May 2021 There just isn’t data on how much protection a booster dose (i.e., the second dose) of the mRNA vaccine will give you when the priming dose (i.e., the first dose) was eight, nine, or more weeks prior. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "What If You Miss Your Second Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine Shot?," 5 May 2021 The office would serve as a central location for information and resources for San Diego workers, collecting data on regional workplace issues, reporting annually on that research and making policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County creates labor office to protect workplace pay and safety standards," 4 May 2021 The state's largest business lobby asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to weigh in on a lawsuit over the release of state data on coronavirus outbreaks at businesses. Daphne Chen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Business lobby asks state Supreme Court to hear case over COVID data," 4 May 2021 The Ohio Department of Health no longer provides daily fatality updates, relying on the federal government, which sends death data on Fridays and Tuesdays. cleveland, "60 new coronavirus deaths reported in Ohio: Tuesday update," 4 May 2021 During the July flyby nearly 30 years later, data on the ionosphere was gathered six months after the sun's solar minimum. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Parker Solar Probe detects a radio signal from Venus' atmosphere," 4 May 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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Data.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data. Accessed 13 May. 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

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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