Daily Archives: April 29, 2016

Data-ish Stuff

Data (datt’ a) used to be the plural of datum [ˈdādəm, ˈdadəm] NOUN

  1. a piece of information..
    • an assumption or premise from which inferences may be drawn. See sense datum.
  2. a fixed starting point of a scale or operation.

ORIGIN

mid 18th cent.: from Latin, literally ‘something given,’ neuter past participle of dare ‘give.’*

Somewhere along the line, data became both singular AND plural, although the singular often was used as an adjective, such as “a data point.” Recently I’ve begun to see data used as the singular and datas as the plural. That’s the problem with a living language—it keeps changing.

On the other hand, Data (day’ ta), the android on Star Trek, the Next Generation, will apparently always remain Data.

Or is that just too many datums for you?

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