Definition of data in US English:



  • 1Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.

    See also datum
    • ‘Web surveys have reduced the cost of data collection and made data analysis more efficient.’
    • ‘In time, more and more use will be made of statistical analysis of data to describe rocks that fall into a few named categories.’
    • ‘RTW collected the data, carried out statistical analyses, and reviewed the manuscript.’
    • ‘The structure of the database permits easy retrieval of specific mutation data for further analysis.’
    • ‘With this book we try to bridge this gap and present real data and facts together with concepts commonly used in economics.’
    • ‘He notes that the pair provide graphs but no statistical analysis of their data.’
    • ‘These programs are used to edit and prepare the collected data for analysis.’
    • ‘In this section, we will discuss some details of our measurement software and the collected data.’
    • ‘The solution rested with data collection and analysis by a number of SPC member companies.’
    • ‘The reduction in violent crime is evident in the raw data, before any statistical analysis.’
    • ‘Using predominantly CPS files, I was able to collect statistical data on a number of variables.’
    • ‘All interpretation of data and analysis of statistics will then be carried out in-house by the Chamber.’
    • ‘Evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of relevant data to inform decision making.’
    • ‘Analysis of variance and Chi square tests were used for statistical analysis of data.’
    • ‘We used grounded theory to guide sampling and collection and analysis of data.’
    • ‘He cited a recent analysis based on data collected by a software company that was funded by a CIA-connected firm.’
    • ‘She said the publication uses data from monthly opinion polls, statistical data, and an analysis of media reports.’
    • ‘The S Language is a powerful tool for the statistical and graphical analysis of data.’
    • ‘Police time will then be spent collecting together the data and providing statistics that indicate the ethnicity of those stopped.’
    • ‘The IMF insists that the Department of Statistics gets economic data together in a timely fashion.’
    facts, figures, statistics, details, particulars, specifics, features
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 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.
      • ‘The coherent light beams could lead to ultrafast computer circuitry that transmits data optically.’
      • ‘From cassette tapes to disk drives, the most popular way to store data is with magnetic materials.’
      • ‘While backing up data may be a minor chore for many, backing up vast quantities of data is a major operation.’
      • ‘HP's wireless keyboards can transmit data to other computers in faraway buildings.’
      • ‘With a day's diving complete, the team recorded their data in laptop computers and’
      • ‘WinBackup is designed to make it easy to perform regular backups of all or selected data on your computer.’
      • ‘It's primarily designed to prefetch large quantities of data to help prevent processor stalls.’
      • ‘Radio signals send that data to a computer mounted on the handlebars for the cyclists to read.’
      • ‘An electronic tag containing an EPC on a microchip stores and transmits data to a reader.’
      • ‘Argote gives the example of old recordings of film or data stored on magnetic tape.’
      • ‘The data signal is stored in a first memory in response to the write clock signal.’
      • ‘Some allow you to download stored data to your computer as a way of keeping track of your progress.’
      • ‘Three playbacks are planned, to ensure that all recorded data are safely transmitted to Earth.’
      • ‘Spent the morning verifying health records and entering data in the computer; always a great joy.’
      • ‘It can also monitor sales and store financial data on recording companies and rights-holders.’
      • ‘Internet 2 continues to break astounding records for transmitting data.’
      • ‘The audit trailing of data is likely to multiply the amount of transactional data we store by a factor of two or more.’
      • ‘The transmitting modem translates digital computer data into analog signals that can be carried over a phone line.’
      • ‘The accumulated data is recorded and stored because the material flow must be traceable.’
      • ‘A query is executed in a computer to retrieve data from a database stored on a data storage device.’
    2. 1.2Philosophy Things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation.
      • ‘The roots of relativism lie not in empirical data but in certain epistemological and metaphysical preconceptions.’
      • ‘These data consist of raw facts, as free as possible of confining hypotheses.’
      • ‘These data can be accepted on the basis of the reliability of our natural faculties with respect to the natural world.’
      • ‘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?’


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


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