da·​tum | \ ˈdā-təm How to pronounce datum (audio) , ˈda- How to pronounce datum (audio) , ˈdä-\

Definition of datum

1 plural data\ ˈdā-​tə How to pronounce data (audio) , ˈda-​ How to pronounce data (audio) also  ˈdä-​ How to pronounce data (audio)\ : 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

That contract built confidence in both the public and private sectors about moving data off legacy servers. Lydia Depillis, CNN, "Amazon executives slam Oracle and Microsoft as the cloud wars heat up," 12 June 2019 The ombudsman would also compile and analyze borrower data and help borrowers understand rights and responsibilities. USA TODAY, "Black Union regiment flag, Notorious BIG, Pikachu the mini pony: News from around our 50 states," 12 June 2019 The experimental vaccine being used in the outbreak is 97.5% effective at preventing the viral disease, preliminary data suggests. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Massive Ebola outbreak spreads across DRC border, infected 5-year-old in Uganda," 11 June 2019 The fintech incubator is looking for ideas from a wide range of disciplines, including analytics, data science, blockchain, cybersecurity, mobile payments and insurance technology, among other areas. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD links up with startup group EvoNexus, hoping to create ‘fintech’ hub in San Diego," 11 June 2019 Privacy and security activists have long argued that as law enforcement vacuums up more data without legal limits, the damage of a possible breach scales up. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "The CBP Breach Was Inevitable," 11 June 2019 That’s according to death certificate data reported by the state to the national vital statistics system. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al.com, "These volunteers teamed up to investigate deaths of moms in Alabama," 11 June 2019 Getting a precise nationwide count of medical patients is impossible because California, Washington and Maine don’t keep data. Washington Post, "AP analysis: Broad legalization cuts into medical marijuana," 11 June 2019 Kukuwka did not give details of the new contract in his initial email, although the Free Press is seeking the amounts of hourly raises and other data. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Bricklayers' strike over in a day, work to resume in Royal Oak and other sites," 11 June 2019

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

15 Jun 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

formal + technical : a single piece of information


da·​tum | \ ˈdā-təm How to pronounce datum (audio) , 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

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