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data

[ dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh ]
/ ˈdeɪ tə, ˈdæt ə, ˈdɑ tə /
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noun
a plural of datum.
(used with a plural verb) individual facts, statistics, or items of information: These data represent the results of our analyses.
(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 are entered by terminal for immediate processing by the computer.
(used with a singular verb) a body of facts; information: Additional data is available from the president of the firm.

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How is it possible that a word, spelled the same way, can have so many different pronunciations? Caramel, data, either ... how do you pronounce these words, and which way is correct?

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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 almost always treated as a plural in scientific and academic writing. In the digital or computer sense it is usually 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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use data in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for data

data
/ (ˈdeɪtə, ˈdɑːtə) /

pl n
a series of observations, measurements, or facts; information
Also called: information computing the information operated on by a computer program

Word Origin for 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
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