da·tum | \ ˈdā-təm , ˈda- , ˈdä- \

Definition of datum 

1 plural data\ \ : 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

According to data from the CDC, the states that have been hit the hardest so far from this salmonella outbreak are California, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. Devon Elizabeth, SELF, "Update: There Are Now 100 Salmonella Cases Linked to Recalled Honey Smacks Cereal," 13 July 2018 According to data from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency with the United States Department of Agriculture, calls for assistance with black vultures have also risen since 2003. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 The number of rigs drilling for crude oil or natural gas grew this week by two rigs, both for gas, according to data collected by Houston energy services firm Baker Hughes, a GE company. Houston Chronicle, "Texas rig counts ticks up amid oil price slide," 13 July 2018 Growth stocks within the S&P 500 have outperformed the value stocks by 11 percentage points this year, according to FactSet data. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Fear of Missing Out Drives Stock Performance," 13 July 2018 According to data compiled by Jonathan Rodden of Stanford, nearly half the variance in the county-level vote shares in the presidential election of 2016 could be explained solely by their number of voters per square kilometre. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 There have been 174 mass shootings in the United States in 2018 so far, according to data collected by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Pusher & Anjulie Address Gun Violence With Pixel-Pop on 'All We Can Do': Exclusive," 12 July 2018 According to other data compiled by HomeArea, residents in smaller towns in the Aurora area sometimes have longer commute times. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora ranked 4th in shortest commute among Illinois cities," 12 July 2018 According to data compiled by HomeArea, Bartlett commuters averaged 35 minutes, South Elgin commuters 32 minutes, and Hoffman Estates 31 minutes. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin ranks 5th statewide in survey of shortest work commute times," 12 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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Phrases Related to datum

data recovery

flight data recorder

Statistics for datum

Last Updated

7 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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