(used with a plural verb) individual facts, statistics, or items of information: These data represent the results of our analyses. Data are entered by terminal for immediate processing by the computer.
(used with a singular verb) a body of facts; information: Additional data is available from the president of the firm.
Can be confused: data, datum (see usage note at the current entry).
Usage note Data is a plural of datum, which is originally a Latin noun meaning “something given.” Today, data is used in English both as a plural noun meaning “facts or pieces of information” (These data are described more fully elsewhere) and as a singular mass noun meaning “information”: Not much data is available on flood control in Brazil. It is almost always treated as a plural in scientific and academic writing. In other types of writing it is either singular or plural. The singular datum meaning “a piece of information” is now rare in all types of writing. In surveying and civil engineering, where datum has specialized senses, the plural form is datums.
1640s, plural of datum, from L. datum "(thing) given," neuter pp. of dare "to give" (see date (1)). Meaning "transmittable and storable computer information" first recorded 1946. Data processing is from 1954.