(used with a singular verb) the science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation of numerical facts or data, and that, by use of mathematical theories of probability, imposes order and regularity on aggregates of more or less disparate elements.
(used with a plural verb) the numerical facts or data themselves.

Origin of statistics

First recorded in 1780–90; see origin at statistic, -ics



noun Statistics.

a numerical fact or datum, especially one computed from a sample.

Origin of statistic

From the New Latin word statisticus, dating back to 1780–90. See status, -istic
Related formsnon·sta·tis·tic, adjectiveun·sta·tis·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for statistics

data, stats, census, demography

Examples from the Web for statistics

Contemporary Examples of statistics

Historical Examples of statistics

  • This may appear incredible, but it is a fact as statistics will show.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • Statistics are not available, because in Galicia they have not been kept from this point of view.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • "Don't tell me it is spectacles and statistics," Bobby pleaded.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • This commonly held belief is based on statistics of longevity and sanitation.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • These figures are drawn from statistics published in July 1914.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

British Dictionary definitions for statistics



(functioning as plural) quantitative data on any subject, esp data comparing the distribution of some quantity for different subclasses of the populationstatistics for earnings by different age groups
(functioning as singular)
  1. the classification and interpretation of such data in accordance with probability theory and the application of methods such as hypothesis testing to them
  2. the mathematical study of the theoretical nature of such distributions and testsSee also descriptive statistics, statistical inference

Word Origin for statistics

C18 (originally ``science dealing with facts of a state''): via German Statistik, from New Latin statisticus concerning state affairs, from Latin status state



any function of a number of random variables, usually identically distributed, that may be used to estimate a population parameterSee also sampling statistic, estimator (def. 2), parameter (def. 3)
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 statistics

1770, "science dealing with data about the condition of a state or community," from German Statistik, popularized and perhaps coined by German political scientist Gottfried Aschenwall (1719-1772) in his "Vorbereitung zur Staatswissenschaft" (1748), from Modern Latin statisticum (collegium) "(lecture course on) state affairs," from Italian statista "one skilled in statecraft," from Latin status (see state (n.1)). Meaning "numerical data collected and classified" is from 1829. Abbreviated form stats first recorded 1961.



"quantitative fact or statement," 1880; see statistics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

statistics in Science



Used with a singular verb The branch of mathematics that deals with the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of numerical data. Statistics is especially useful in drawing general conclusions about a set of data from a sample of the data.
Used with a plural verb Numerical data.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

statistics in Culture


The branch of mathematics dealing with numerical data. (See mean, median, mode, normal distribution curve, sample, standard deviation, and statistical significance.)


A particular problem of statistics is estimating true values of parameters from a sample of data.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.