Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural Facts that can be analyzed or used in an effort to gain knowledge or make decisions; information.
  • noun plural Statistics or other information represented in a form suitable for processing by computer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Plural of datum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural See datum.
  • noun plural a collection of facts, observations, or other information related to a particular question or problem.
  • noun plural (Computers) information, most commonly in the form of a series of binary digits, stored on a physical storage medium for manipulation by a computer program. It is contrasted with the program which is a series of instructions used by the central processing unit of a computer to manipulate the data. In some conputers data and execuatble programs are stored in separate locations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Plural form of datum: pieces of information.
  • noun uncountable, collectively information.
  • noun A collection of object-units that are distinct from one another.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin, pl. of datum; see datum.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin data, plural of datum (‘that is given’), neuter past participle of dare (‘to give’).

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • It's a plural noun, dammit! No matter what the teeming ignorant masses might have you believe.

    April 3, 2008

  • I think this is a battle you are destined to lose, s.

    April 4, 2008

  • plethora, if sionnach loses, I lose as well. "Data" is the plural form of "datum".

    April 4, 2008

  • I'm sure plethora knows... he loses with us, I think.

    Hey, there's so much space here! So let's add some useless information... Adeodata (given by God in Latin) was in the past a name typically given by nuns to abandoned babies (it's a female name) in Italy.

    April 4, 2008

  • Yes, I did know that. It just so happens that this is an argument I have given up on.

    April 4, 2008

  • I understand that this particular barn door has been left gaping ajar, leaning rakishly on its ravaged hinges, by the marauding barbarian hordes. But sometimes one just has to voice one's protest, quixotic though it might seem.

    I am pleased to report that each of the dozen or so statisticians that I've trained during my career has been successfully indoctrinated with my visceral resistance to the 'data is' abomination.

    Why do I suddenly feel as if I were some kind of atherosclerotic member of a particularly reactionary Opus Dei cell?

    April 4, 2008

  • Duly tagged. Now, who'll join a campaign for agendum?

    April 4, 2008

  • Sionnach, do you say cherubim? Do you say octopodes? Do you say kine instead of cows? Do you say pease even when there is only one of what a lesser Wordie might call a pea? Where do you draw the line?

    April 5, 2008

  • Rather than howl over the grave of a dead plural, I prefer to see data now as a collective noun which functions as generally singular and occasionally plural, which is a reflection of modern usage. Committee is used this way and I haven't heard too much teeth-gnashing over thataway.

    The committee are ... (we're referring to the members);

    The committee is ... (we're referring to the body as a whole).

    Hence:

    The data are ... (we're referring to the bits of information, the responses to the survey, the individual results, etc.);

    The data is ... (we're referring to, as WordNET suggests, 'a collection of facts').

    As far as this is unfaithful to the roots of the term data I know it's not likely to placate bellowing gramarian frumpmudgeons, but it's not an unworkable arrangement. Would you rather it went the way of stadiums and gave us datums?

    April 5, 2008

  • Bilby, your failure to bracket bellowing grammarian frumpmudgeons ought to cost you significant wordie points.

    April 5, 2008