A wild guess tells me that agenda vs agendum is like data vs datum (former is a collection of the latter), but what is the use of agendum in today's English?

If part of my party's agenda is to get rid of all vegetables and to bring loud mufflers to the whole country, would each of those be a single agendum? How would the word get used nowadays?

  • 3
    We used to use agendum to talk about an item on an agenda. But that was 30 years ago and we were joking anyway. I'd say the modern usage was about zero. Dec 5, 2013 at 5:18
  • Haven't you looked the words up? The usage note at the AHDEL entry on agenda (and linked from agendum) agrees with John Lawler's comment. I admit I'm surprised by the Collins notes on usage; I'd consider 'agendum' vanishingly rare in the UK too. Perhaps there is a residual niche usage, perhaps in the legal register. Dec 5, 2013 at 5:24
  • When I was preparing documentation for meetings fairly regularly, I used to use the title List of Agenda which just about works if you treat agenda as meaning list and made it clear that the word is/was actually a plural.
    – Andrew Leach
    Dec 5, 2013 at 8:36

2 Answers 2


A quick search on the web says you are correct. Personally, I have never heard that used before, nor was I aware that Agenda was really the plural of some singular noun. At work, we just call the elements of an agenda "items", and I think that political parties call their elements "positions", e.g. GOP's position on the debt ceiling increase or gun ownership. Looks like the singular has fallen way to more specific terms unrelated to agenda. See this link as well.


Would each of those be a single 'agendum'?

No. They would not. In the context of

part of my party's agenda,

agenda is singular, not plural, not even a mass noun. It's not the plural of agendum, but

"A list or program of things to be done or considered: They share with them an agenda … [emphasis added]
… in Modern English a phrase such as item on the agenda expresses the sense of agendum, and agenda is used as a singular noun to denote the set or list of such items …

How would it get used nowadays?
As for agendum [1895–1900], to act: homo ad agendum natus est, man is born for action.

  • Today, data is not merely the plural of datum. The words have acquired 'independent statuses' of their own, so to speak.
    – Kris
    Dec 5, 2013 at 6:57

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