[dah-toh; Spanish dah-taw]
noun, plural da·tos [dah-tohz; Spanish dah-taws] /ˈdɑ toʊz; Spanish ˈdɑ tɔs/,
  1. (in the Philippines) a native chief.
  2. the headman of a barrio or of a Malay tribe.
Also datu.

Origin of dato

1835–45; < Spanish or Portuguese < Malay datuk war chief
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of dato

British Dictionary definitions for dato


noun plural -tos
  1. the chief of any of certain Muslim tribes in the Philippine Islands

Word Origin for dato

C19: from Spanish, ultimately from Malay dato' grandfather
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