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

  • noun The mathematics of the collection, organization, and interpretation of numerical data, especially the analysis of population characteristics by inference from sampling.
  • noun Numerical data.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A systematic collection of numbers relating to the enumeration of great classes, or to ratios of quantities connected with such classes, and ascertained by direct enumeration.
  • noun The study of any subject, especially sociology, by means of extensive enumerations; the science of human society, so far as deduced from enumerations.

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

  • noun The science which has to do with the collection, classification, and analysis of facts of a numerical nature regarding any topic.
  • noun Classified facts of a numerical nature regarding any topic.
  • noun Numerical facts respecting the condition of the people in a state, their health, their longevity, domestic economy, arts, property, and political strength, their resources, the state of the country, etc., or respecting any particular class or interest; especially, those facts which can be stated in numbers, or in tables of numbers, or in any tabular and classified arrangement.
  • noun (Sport) Numerical facts regarding the performance of athletes or athletic teams, such as winning percentages, numbers of games won or lost in a season, batting averages (for baseball players), total yards gained (for football players). The creation and classification of such numbers is limited only by the imagination of those wishing to describe athletic performance numerically.
  • noun The branch of mathematics which studies methods for the calculation of probabilities.

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

  • noun A mathematical science concerned with data collection, presentation, analysis, and interpretation.
  • noun A systematic collection of data on measurements or observations, often related to demographic information such as population counts, incomes, population counts at different ages, etc.
  • noun Plural form of statistic.

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

  • noun a branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population parameters


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

[From German Statistik, political science, from New Latin statisticus, of state affairs, from Italian statista, person skilled in statecraft, from stato, state, from Old Italian, from Latin status, position, form of government; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From German Statistik, from New Latin statisticum ("of the state") and Italian statista ("statesman, politician"). Statistik introduced by Gottfried Achenwall (1749), originally designated the analysis of data about the state.


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  • There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    September 28, 2007

  • One of my favorite quotes! So true!

    September 28, 2007

  • How do the statistics work on Wornik? Does someone count the number of times a word appears in the paper or something?

    Is it *gasp* madeupical?

    December 4, 2009

  • Does that mean that PossibleUnderscore gets the paper version of Wordnik? I quit the subscription when the post office started complaining about the delivery every 30 seconds.

    December 4, 2009

  • I’d guess it’s an extrapolation from some sort of corpus—consisting of more than just news papers I hope. :-)

    (And this extrapolation, I hope, takes into account things like uneven distributions over time.)

    December 4, 2009

  • We have a big blog post on the Wordnik statistics here: Carbonated Frequencies. It's a little out of date (we fixed some of the known weirdnesses mentioned).

    Right now we have a bit of a frequency "hole" for the 1970s and 1980s that we're working to fill with more data. We'll give updates as we have 'em!

    December 4, 2009

  • That's probably because the 1970s and 1980s were sort of holes themselves. ;-)

    December 5, 2009