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

For example, in 2016, RSV season started around mid-September to mid-November in various parts of the country, peaked anywhere from late December to mid-February 2017, and tapered off around mid-April to mid-May, according to CDC data. Korin Miller, SELF, "Respiratory Syncytial Virus Is the Flu-Like Illness You Haven't Heard About," 3 Jan. 2019 According to recent economic data, the city boasts 7,000 startups spread across all five boroughs, 134,700 tech jobs as of 2017, and $5.9 billion in venture capital investment, as well as the opening of the new Cornell Roosevelt Island tech campus. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Big cities courting big tech helped define 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have used access to users’ personal data to reward strategic partners and punish competitors over the years. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Going for a ride in Waymo’s just-launched driverless taxi service," 6 Dec. 2018 According to the test, the modem transferred a gigabyte’s worth of data in 17 seconds. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "How fast is 5G? This speed demo gives us an idea," 4 Dec. 2018 But from a scientific POV, the main issue is a lack of data. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "The Truth About Bulletproof Coffee, According to a Nutritionist," 5 Nov. 2018 Almost 74 million women and 64 million men voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to data crunched by the Center for American Women and Politics. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Voters Don't Come Out for Midterm Elections. But That Could Change This Year.," 30 Oct. 2018 Sign-up Early this year, Facebook aired a television ad committing to addressing fake news and data-privacy issues and acknowledging the need to refocus on connecting people. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Five New CMOs Charged With Boosting Battered Brands in 2019," 24 Dec. 2018 In addition to hard data, there are opinion pieces, videos, and interviews by Gen Z, which add context and color to the information presented. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Gucci Releases New Report on Gender Fluidity in Generation Z," 21 Dec. 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

12 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on datum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with datum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for datum

Spanish Central: Translation of datum

Nglish: Translation of datum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of datum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about datum

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).


a complex dispute or argument

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