heard: datapoint

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 28 15:27:23 UTC 2008

On Wed, May 28, 2008 at 11:00 AM, John Thaden <jjthaden at flash.net> wrote:

> 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".

But it avoids the problem of "data" (sing? or plur?) and the infrequency in
everyday lang. of "datum" (as opposed to "data").

m a m

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

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