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

The group also decried the company’s commercial relationship with the data firm Palantir, which does business with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Amazon employees hope to confront Jeff Bezos about law enforcement deals at an all-staff meeting," 5 Nov. 2018 That makes Junco especially interested in seeing the post-election data to get a sense of how the programs were utilized and who took advantage. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Free rides to the polls test the transit and turnout connection," 1 Nov. 2018 The accessory tracks the wearer's snoozing habits and shares the data to an app on the person's smart phone. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Story Behind Prince Harry's Surprising New Ring," 18 Oct. 2018 The only data Mullvad saves are the total number of current connections on its network, the CPU load per core, and the total bandwidth used per server. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Mullvad 2018 review: A fantastic VPN has a great new look," 17 Oct. 2018 The Kepler team relies on NASA's Deep Space Network to catch the incoming data and must share this system of big radio dishes with other agency missions. Mike Wall, Space.com, "NASA's Kepler Planet-Hunting Space Telescope Wakes Up Again," 13 Oct. 2018 The best parks system in the whole country (data shows!). Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Following the reports, Cambridge Analytica said that the data that Kogan purchased was never used by Cambridge. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Cambridge Analytica shutting down, company says," 2 Oct. 2018 The data Pinterest shared for makeup trends was much more surprising, in my opinion. Devon Abelman, Allure, "I Tried Orange Blush, the Japanese Makeup Trend That's All Over Pinterest," 29 Aug. 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

16 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).


by force of circumstances

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