"the science of collecting, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting data. Governmental needs for census data as well as information about a variety of economic activities provided much of the early impetus for the field of statistics. Currently the need to turn the large amounts of data available in many applied fields into useful information has stimulated both theoretical and practical developments in statistics." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2005

"1. a. Construed as sing. In early use, that branch of political science dealing with the collection, classification, and discussion of facts (especially of a numerical kind) bearing on the condition of a state or community. In recent use, the department of study that has for its object the collection and arrangement of numerical facts or data, whether relating to human affairs or to natural phenomena." Oxford English Dictionary, 2002

"Statistics is the science and practice of developing knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form. It is based on statistical theory which is a branch of applied mathematics. Within statistical
theory, randomness and uncertainty are modelled by probability theory. Because one aim of statistics is to produce the "best" information from available data, some authors consider
statistics a branch of decision theory. Statistical practice includes the planning, summarizing, and interpreting of observations, allowing for variability and uncertainty." Wikipedia, 2005

"Any practical statistical enquiry is concerned with the number of objects of a specified set (“individuals” of a specified “population”) having various attributes. The general methods of analysis of the numerical information make up the subject of theoretical statistics. This subject can be divided into a “descriptive” part and a “predictive” part. The first part is concerned with such methods of characterising a sample as curve-fitting and the calculation of means and higher moments. In predictive statistics forecasts are made of the properties of a population, given a description of a sample."
Good (1950)