data

noun

da·​ta ˈdā-tə How to pronounce data (audio) ˈda- How to pronounce data (audio)
also
ˈdä- How to pronounce data (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
often attributive
1
: factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation
the data is plentiful and easily availableH. A. Gleason, Jr.
comprehensive data on economic growth have been publishedN. H. Jacoby
2
: information in digital form that can be transmitted or processed
3
: information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful
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 data in a Sentence

Smith, himself a stay-at-home dad and a journalist, mixes accessible summaries of social-science data with anecdotes drawn from interviews with couples in which the men have chosen, or have been compelled by economic circumstance, to become primary caregivers to their children. Eduardo M. Pealver, Commonweal, 11 Sept. 2009
He plays Chuck Bartowski, a computer-tech expert with the Buy More store's Nerd Herd … who unwittingly becomes a secret agent when government data is downloaded to his brain. Michael Logan, TV Guide, September 10-16, 2007
As measurements get better and more data pour in, physicists will bring those errors under control and chart exciting new territory. But for many, the wait is a strain. Charles Seife, Science, 2 May 2003
By studying obscure demographic and economic data, he deduced that the Soviets were in crisis—and spending a far bigger slice of its national income on defense than anyone had suspected. John Barry et al., Newsweek, 21 May 2001
we are putting together all the data we have obtained on the local housing market
Recent Examples on the Web And the scientists say nothing in the data suggests humans should not go to space. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 June 2024 Streaming is booming, but data is still mostly in a black box. Dade Hayes, Deadline, 13 June 2024 Initial jobless claims rose by 13,000 to 242,000 for the week ending June 8, the highest level in 10 months — though the data is volatile and can be frequently revised. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 13 June 2024 Cars ‘are going to be around for another 100 years’ Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to retract 6 studies, correct 31 after ‘data forgery’ allegations A CT cafe is elevating its coffee to pair with ‘superb’ food. Hartford Courant, 13 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for data 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'data.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin, plural of datum — see datum

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of data was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near data

Cite this Entry

“Data.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

data

singular or plural noun
da·​ta ˈdāt-ə How to pronounce data (audio) ˈdat- How to pronounce data (audio)
 also  ˈdät-
1
: facts about something that can be used in calculating, reasoning, or planning
2
: information in numerical form for use especially in a computer

Medical Definition

data

noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation
the data is plentiful and easily availableH. A. Gleason, Jr.
comprehensive data on the incidence of Lyme disease

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