[ dey-tuh, dat-uh ]
See synonyms for data on
  1. (usually used with a singular verb)Digital Technology. information in digital format, as encoded text or numbers, or multimedia images, audio, or video: The data was corrupted and can’t be retrieved.Data is entered for immediate processing by the computer.

  2. (used with a singular verb) a body of facts; information: Additional data is available from the president of the firm.

  1. (used with a plural verb) individual facts, statistics, or items of information: These data represent the results of our analyses.

  2. a plural of datum.

Origin of data

First recorded in 1640–50; from Latin, plural of datum

usage note For data

Data is a plural of datum, which is originally a Latin noun meaning “something given.” Today, data is used in English both as a plural noun meaning “facts or pieces of information” ( These data are described more fully elsewhere ) and as a singular mass noun meaning “information” ( Not much data is available on flood control in Brazil ). It is usually treated as a plural in scientific and academic writing. In the digital or computer sense it is almost always treated as a mass noun and used with a singular verb. In other types of writing it is either singular or plural. The Latinate singular datum meaning “a piece of information” is now rare in all types of writing. In surveying and civil engineering, where datum has specialized senses, the plural form is datums.

Other words from data

  • pre·da·ta, noun

Words that may be confused with data

  • data , datum (see usage note at the current entry)

Words Nearby data Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use data in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for data


/ (ˈdeɪtə, ˈdɑːtə) /

pl n
  1. a series of observations, measurements, or facts; information

  2. Also called: information computing the information operated on by a computer program

Origin of data

C17: from Latin, literally: (things) given, from dare to give

usage For data

Although now often used as a singular noun, data is properly a plural

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012