The word 'Statistics' refers to some numerical facts relating to any phenomena in social sciences or exact sciences. Facts and figures pertaining to population, production, national income, profits, sales, bank rates, family patterns, dowry system, animal kingdom, plant life, bacteria; will all constitute statistics.The word 'statistics' seems to have derived from either the Latin word 'status' or the Italian word 'Statitsta' both meaning 'a political state'.
The word 'statistics' is presently referred to in two distinct senses. In its first reference as a plural noun, it means an aggregate or collection of numerical or quantitative expressions of facts i.e. 'numerical data' or simply 'data'. In its second reference as a singular noun, it means a body of principles and methods used in the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
Bowley defines statistics as the science of counting in one context. The emphasis made here is only on the collection of data. At another place he says: statistics may rightly be called the science of averages.Boddington defines statistics as the science of estimates and probabilities. According to Lovitt, the science of statistics deals with the collection. Classification and tabulation of numerical facts as the basis for explanation, description and comparison of phenomena. Seligman defines statistics as the science which deals with the methods of collecting classifying, presenting, comparing and interpreting numerical data collected to throw some light on any sphere of enquiry. Croxton and Cowden define statistics as the collection, presentation analysis and interpretation of numerical data.