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[dey-tuh m, dat-uh m, dah-tuh m] /ˈdeɪ təm, ˈdæt əm, ˈdɑ təm/
noun, plural data
[dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh] /ˈdeɪ tə, ˈdæt ə, ˈdɑ tə/ (Show IPA),
for 1–3, datums for 4, 5.
a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, or code; an item of data.
  1. any fact assumed to be a matter of direct observation.
  2. any proposition assumed or given, from which conclusions may be drawn.
Also called sense datum. Epistemology. the object of knowledge as presented to the mind.
Compare ideatum.
Surveying, Civil Engineering. any level surface, line, or point used as a reference in measuring elevations.
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.
Origin of datum
1640-50; < Latin: a thing given, neuter past participle of dare to give
Can be confused
data, datum (see usage note at data)
Usage note
See data. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for datum
  • As such, it has great value in its own right as a datum for future historians and sociologists to reflect upon.
  • Expertise has been running too high against the datum.
  • Saying a data element sounds more natural and a datum is also correct though it may sound a bit pretentious.
  • The views of the people at large are merely one datum among a large number of data that need to be considered.
  • It is important to specify the horizontal datum when giving geographic coordinates.
  • The operating datum for the station should be set below the water-stage elevation for zero flow.
  • It is, therefore, important that datum does not change.
  • The datum is used as a basis for calculating imps for the participating teams or pairs.
British Dictionary definitions for datum


/ˈdeɪtəm; ˈdɑːtəm/
noun (pl) -ta (-tə)
a single piece of information; fact
a proposition taken for granted, often in order to construct some theoretical framework upon it; a given See also sense datum
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: something given; see data
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for datum

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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