da·​tum | \ˈdā-təm, ˈda-, ˈdä- \

Definition of datum 

1 plural data\ -​ə \ : something given or admitted especially as a basis for reasoning or inference an important historical datum This enormous expense—and considerable risk—to pick up a datum or two about geriatrics?— Charles Krauthammer

2 plural datums, mathematics : something used as a basis for calculating or measuring measuring the distance between datum points … make things more efficient for those of us whose work requires a time datum.— Robert Steinbrunn

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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 datum in a Sentence

let's begin our discussion of this matter with a datum from actual experience

Recent Examples on the Web

Carriers like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines are giving gate agents and flight attendants access to more customer data in hopes of giving passengers more personalized service. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "From birthday wishes for passengers to tracking baggage handler injuries, airlines tap big data to try to improve operations," 12 July 2018 Hendricks County is the only county in Central Indiana to see any cases associated with the outbreak and has had fewer than five, according to state health data. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana sees first death in multi-state hepatitis A outbreak," 11 July 2018 O'Rourke's numbers have been robust enough to count him among the the top fundraisers in the country this cycle among candidates for the Senate, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "Beto O’Rourke raises $10.4 million in second quarter in race against Ted Cruz," 11 July 2018 The 220-employee company provides services that help organizations make better decisions with their data. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Accenture acquires Schaumburg AI company in bid to help clients use big data," 12 July 2018 As a matter of due diligence, Finley suggested that the IceCube team go back through their old data to examine whether any other neutrinos had come from the same direction. Author: Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy," 12 July 2018 Keating and her co-authors — researchers at Harvard, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Indiana University School of Medicine — acknowledge that their survey data may be outdated. Orly Nadell Farber, STAT, "Physicians’ beliefs may override cancer patients’ wishes for end-of-life care, study finds," 9 July 2018 Last year, the region had 66,690 finance and insurance jobs on average — up about 13 percent from 59,236 in 2007, according to federal data. Deon Roberts And Hannah Lang, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte's losing 'a little bit of the luster.' Just one bank has its HQ here now.," 2 July 2018 According to their data, washing hands correctly while cooking is one of the best and easiest ways to avoid foodborne illnesses — which affect approximately 48 million people each year. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Department of Agriculture Study Reveals Most People Wash Hands Incorrectly," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'datum.' 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 datum

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for datum

Latin, from neuter of datus

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Statistics for datum

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for datum

The first known use of datum was in 1646

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More Definitions for datum



English Language Learners Definition of datum

: a single piece of information


da·​tum | \ˈdā-təm, ˈda-, ˈdä-\
plural data\ -​tə \ or datums

Kids Definition of datum

: a single piece of information : fact

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Comments on datum

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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