Etymology
Advertisement
data (n.)
Origin and meaning of data

1640s, "a fact given or granted," classical plural of datum, from Latin datum "(thing) given," neuter past participle of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). In classical use originally "a fact given as the basis for calculation in mathematical problems." From 1897 as "numerical facts collected for future reference."

Meaning "transmittable and storable information by which computer operations are performed" is first recorded 1946. Data-processing is from 1954; data-base (also database) "structured collection of data in a computer" is by 1962; data-entry is by 1970.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
point-to-point (adj.)

"in a straight line, across country," 1883, from point (n.).

Related entries & more 
point (n.)
Origin and meaning of point

c. 1200, pointe, "minute amount, single item in a whole; sharp end of a sword, etc.," a merger of two words, both ultimately from Latin pungere "to prick, pierce," from a nasalized form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick."

The Latin neuter past participle punctum was used as a noun, meaning "small hole made by pricking," subsequently extended to anything that looked like one, hence, "dot, particle," etc. This yielded Old French point "dot; smallest amount," which was borrowed in Middle English in the "smallest amount" sense by c. 1300. The meaning "small mark, dot" (mark made by the end of a pointed instrument) in English is from mid-14c.

Meanwhile the Latin fem. past participle of pungere was puncta, which was used in Medieval Latin to mean "sharp tip," and became Old French pointe "point of a weapon, vanguard of an army," which also passed into English (early 14c.). The senses have merged in English, but remain distinct in French.

 The sense of "peak or promontory from a land or coast" is from 1550s. The extended senses often are from the notion of "minute, single, or separate items in an extended whole." The sense of "brief period of time, instant" is from late 14c. Meaning "distinguishing feature" (especially a good one) is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "a unit of score in a game" is recorded from 1746.

The meaning "recognized unit of fluctuation of price per share on an exchange" is by 1814. As a typeface unit (in Britain and U.S., one twelfth of a pica), it went into use in U.S. 1883. As a measure of weight for precious stones (one one-hundredth of a carat) it is recorded from 1931. Meaning "diacritical mark indicating a vowel or other modification of sound" is from 1610s.

The point "the matter being discussed" is attested from late 14c.; meaning "sense, purpose, end, aim, advantage" (usually in the negative, as in what's the point?) is recorded by 1903. Point of honor (1610s) translates French point d'honneur. Point of no return (1941) is originally aviators' term for the point in a flight "before which any engine failure requires an immediate turn around and return to the point of departure, and beyond which such return is no longer practical" [Young America's Aviation Annual]. To make a point of "be resolved to do something and do it accordingly" is from 1778.

Related entries & more 
point (v.)
Origin and meaning of point

late 14c., "indicate with the finger;" c. 1400, "wound by stabbing; make pauses in reading a text; seal or fill openings or joints or between tiles," partly from Old French pointoier "to prick, stab, jab, mark," and also from point (n.).

From mid-15c. as "to stitch, mend." From late 15c. as "furnish (a garment) with tags or laces for fastening;" from late 15c. as "aim (something), direct toward an object." Related: Pointed; pointing. To point up "emphasize" is from 1934; to point out "indicate, show, make manifest" is from 1570s.

Related entries & more 
point man (n.)

"one who leads a military patrol in formation in a jungle, etc.," 1944, said to be from point (n.) in military sense of "small leading party of an advance guard" (1580s) + man (n.). A more literal sense also is possible. Point (n.) in U.S. also meant "position at the front of a herd of cattle," and pointman in this sense is attested by 1903.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
flash-point (n.)
also flashpoint, "temperature at which vapor will ignite momentarily," 1869, from flash (v.) + point (n.). Figurative use by 1955. Slightly earlier as flashing-point (1867).
Related entries & more 
point-blank (n.)

1570s, in gunnery, "having a horizontal direction," said to be from point (v.) + blank (n.), here meaning the white center of a target. The notion would be of standing close enough to aim (point) at the blank without allowance for curve, windage, or gravity.

But early references make no mention of a white target, and the phrase is possibly from a simplification of the French phrase de pointe en blanc, used in French gunnery in reference to firing a piece on the level into open space to test how far it will carry. In that case the blank represents "empty space" or perhaps the "zero point" of elevation. The whole phrase might be a French loan-translation from Italian.

From 1590s as an adjective in English. The transferred meaning "direct, blunt, straight, without circumlocution" is from 1650s.

Related entries & more 
point of view (n.)

"position from which a thing is or is supposed to be viewed," 1727, translating French point de vue, a loan-translation of Latin punctum visus. Figurative use "state of mind, predisposition (conscious or not)" is from 1760. The Latin phrase was translated into German as Gesichtspunkt.

Related entries & more 
datum (n.)
proper Latin singular of data (q.v.).
Related entries & more 
Teletex (n.)
proprietary name for a computer data-sharing network, 1978.
Related entries & more