data[dāt′ə, dat′ə; Brit also dä′tə]
- Data is defined as facts or figures, or information that's stored in or used by a computer.
- An example of data is information collected for a research paper.
- An example of data is an email.
This information being collected is called data.
- facts or figures to be processed; evidence, records, statistics, etc. from which conclusions can be inferred; information
- information in a form suitable for storing and processing by a computer
Origin of dataplural of datum: still often so used by scientists
plural noun(used with a sing. or pl. verb)
- Facts that can be analyzed or used in an effort to gain knowledge or make decisions; information.
- Statistics or other information represented in a form suitable for processing by computer.
- Plural of datum.
Origin of dataLatin, pl. of datum; see datum. Usage Note: The word data is the plural of Latin datum, “something given.” In English, most notably in scientific usage, this plural usage is still common, as in this example: “Eventually, his data suggest, a tumor's &ellipsis; alterations give rise to mutant cells” (Janet Raloff). But data is also standard in denoting a singular mass entity (like information), especially in writing for a more general audience: “Before data is transmitted in bulk around the internet, it is routinely compressed to reduce redundancy” (Richard Dawkins). “Goodall &ellipsis; wanted to get as much data as possible from her animals before she had to leave them” (Elizabeth Royte). • In our 2005 survey, 66 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the use of data with a singular verb and pronoun in the sentence Once the data is in, we can begin to analyze it. Fully 92 percent accepted the sentence We have very little data on the efficacy of such programs, the same percentage that accepted the use of data as a plural noun. (Note that the quantifier very little, like much in the last quotation given above, is not used with plural nouns such as facts or results.) The percentages in the 2005 survey represent significant increases over those of our 1988 survey, making it safe to say that singular data has become a standard usage.
(uncountable) or plural noun
- This word is more often used as an uncountable noun with a singular verb than as a plural noun with singular datum.
- The definition of data in the computing context is from an international standard vocabulary and is meant to distinguish data from information. However, this distinction is largely ignored by the computing profession.
data - Computer Definition
From the Latin datum, meaning what is given. What is known or assumed, and upon which conclusions can be drawn. Factual information in a form that can be input to, created by, processed by, stored in, and output by a computer. Data can take the form of characters such as letters, numbers, punctuation marks, mathematical operators, and control characters. Data also can take the form of photographic display elements, such as pixels. Note: Data is the plural form of the Latin datum, although data is used conversationally to represent both singular and plural.
(1) Technically, raw facts and figures, such as orders and payments, which are processed into information, such as balance due and quantity on hand. However, in common usage, the terms "data" and "information" are used synonymously. In addition, the term data is really the plural of "datum," which is one item of data. But datum is rarely used, and data is used as both singular and plural in practice. The amount of data versus information kept in the computer is a tradeoff. Data can be processed into different forms of information, but it takes time to sort and sum transactions. Up-to-date information can provide instant answers. A common misconception is that software is also data. Software is executed, or run, by the computer. Data are "processed." Thus, software causes the computer to process data.
(2) Any form of information whether on paper or in electronic form. Data may refer to any electronic file no matter what the format: database data, text, images, audio and video. Everything read and written by the computer can be considered data except for instructions in a program that are executed (software).
(3) May refer only to data stored in a database in contrast with text in a word processing document.
Variant of datum
nounpl. data or datums
- something known or assumed; information from which conclusions can be inferred
- a real or assumed thing, used as a basis for calculations or measurements, as a level (also ) from which elevations and depths are measured in surveying
Origin of datumClassical Latin what is given, neuter of datus: see date