Definition of data in English:


Syllabification: da·ta
Pronunciation: /ˈdatə, ˈdātə


[treated as singular or plural]
  • 1Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. See also datum.
    More example sentences
    • Police time will then be spent collecting together the data and providing statistics that indicate the ethnicity of those stopped.
    • These programs are used to edit and prepare the collected data for analysis.
    • Web surveys have reduced the cost of data collection and made data analysis more efficient.
  • 1.1 Computing The quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer, being stored and transmitted in the form of electrical signals and recorded on magnetic, optical, or mechanical recording media.
    More example sentences
    • Argote gives the example of old recordings of film or data stored on magnetic tape.
    • The transmitting modem translates digital computer data into analog signals that can be carried over a phone line.
    • The coherent light beams could lead to ultrafast computer circuitry that transmits data optically.
  • 1.2 Philosophy Things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation.
    More example sentences
    • The roots of relativism lie not in empirical data but in certain epistemological and metaphysical preconceptions.
    • The other is that he had come to make a virtue of the fact that the basic data of knowledge are never certain, but at best merely credible to some degree.
    • How do sense-data differ from other data, e.g. from those of memory or introspection?


mid 17th century (as a term in philosophy): from Latin, plural of datum.


In Latin, data is the plural of datum and, historically and in specialized scientific fields, it is also treated as a plural in English, taking a plural verb, as in the data were collected and classified . In modern nonscientific use, however, it is generally not treated as a plural. Instead, it is treated as a mass noun, similar to a word like information, which takes a singular verb. Sentences such as data was collected over a number of years are now widely accepted in standard English.

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