[dey-tuh m, dat-uh m, dah-tuh m]

noun, plural da·ta [dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh] /ˈdeɪ tə, ˈdæt ə, ˈdɑ tə/ for 1–3, da·tums for 4, 5.

a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, or code; an item of data.
  1. any fact assumed to be a matter of direct observation.
  2. any proposition assumed or given, from which conclusions may be drawn.
Also called sense datum. Epistemology. the object of knowledge as presented to the mind.Compare ideatum.
Surveying, Civil Engineering. any level surface, line, or point used as a reference in measuring elevations.
Surveying. a basis for horizontal control surveys, consisting of the longitude and latitude of a certain point, the azimuth of a certain line from this point, and two constants used in defining the terrestrial spheroid.

Origin of datum

1640–50; < Latin: a thing given, neuter past participle of dare to give
Can be confuseddata datum (see usage note at data)

Usage note

See data.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for datum

Contemporary Examples of datum

Historical Examples of datum

  • We could have predicted that that datum could be found somewhere.

  • We have a datum, and we give it an interpretation, in accordance with our pseudo-standard.

  • Our first datum is of something that was once seen to enter an ocean.

  • Over and over in these annals of the damned occurs the datum of segregation.

  • Nevertheless, it seems to me that a datum that preceded it was slightingly treated.

British Dictionary definitions for datum


noun plural -ta (-tə)

a single piece of information; fact
a proposition taken for granted, often in order to construct some theoretical framework upon it; a givenSee also sense datum

Word Origin for datum

C17: from Latin: something given; see data
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

Word Origin and History for datum

proper Latin singular of data (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper