heard: datapoint

John Thaden jjthaden at FLASH.NET
Wed May 28 15:00:15 UTC 2008

In the branches of science in which I've been involved,
(biochemistry, analytical chemistry), 'datapoint' basically
means a datum, i.e., one observation from the several
comprising the data of an experiment.  In particular,
one hears it being used when the data are displayed
graphically, e.g., in a scatter plot, to refer to one
point on the plot, for instance, an outlier.  I'm not
sure I follow what you mean that it is being used to
focus more on the rhetorical quality/context of the
statement and not on the data itself.  I'll have to
listen for this. Are you certain that the simpler
meaning was not intended?  I've never particularly
liked hearing it used -- it grates in a way similar
to "point in time".

Date:    Tue, 27 May 2008 20:39:31 -0400
From:    Marc Velasco <marcjvelasco at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: heard: datapoint

Has anyone else been noticing the rising use of 'datapoint'?
(Apologies if this has already been brought up.)  Heard this morning
on Dianne Rehm, as well as previously.

Working def: statement in support of an argument, which is backed up
by 'data' (usually numeric); datapoint seems to focus on the
rhetorical quality/context of the statement and not on the data

Usually in the context of either powerpoint presentations, or
politics/policy, or IT related questions (at least in my experience).
Seems to be a marker for statements of 'quality' as opposed to
assertions or generalizations... especially for discussions that have
historically been made by analogy, reasoning, or simply assertions.

datapoint: crime rose 12% last year
non-datapoint: crime is a big problem in my neighborhood, and it's
getting worse.

Apparently, datapoint is also a company that makes some extension for

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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