< /ˈdeɪ tə, ˈdæt ə, ˈdɑ tə/ for 1–3, da·tums for 4, 5.

  1. a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, or code; an item of data.
  2. Philosophy.
    1. any fact assumed to be a matter of direct observation.
    2. any proposition assumed or given, from which conclusions may be drawn.
  3. Also called sense datum. Epistemology. the object of knowledge as presented to the mind.Compare ideatum.
  4. Surveying, Civil Engineering. any level surface, line, or point used as a reference in measuring elevations.
  5. 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.

pl n

  1. a series of observations, measurements, or facts; information
  2. Also called: information computing the information operated on by a computer program

noun plural -ta (-tə)

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

1640s, plural of datum, from Latin datum “(thing) given,” neuter past participle of dare “to give” (see date (n.1)). Meaning “transmittable and storable computer information” first recorded 1946. Data processing is from 1954.


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

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