alum·​na | \ ə-ˈləm-nə How to pronounce alumna (audio) \
plural alumnae\ ə-​ˈləm-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce alumnae (audio) also  -​ˌnī \

Definition of alumna

1 : a girl or woman who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university an alumna of Smith College
2 : a girl or woman who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate an alumna of a TV series

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Alumnus or Alumna?

Many people are comfortable using the word alumni to refer to someone who was a student of a particular school. However, others feel quite strongly that this is an error and that the following forms should be used: alumnus (for one male), alumni (for multiple males, or for a mix of males and females), alumna (for one female), and alumnae (for multiple females). The shortened form alum and its plural form alums began to be used in the 19th century. Initially, alum was widely viewed as highly colloquial or informal, but is increasing in use as a gender-neutral alternative.

Examples of alumna in a Sentence

a group of Harvard alumnae
Recent Examples on the Web Eden is being honored by the Conservatory as a distinguished alumna. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Why fallout from virus hits Bay Area hardest," 12 Feb. 2020 An Auburn University alumna is going for Golden State gold. Jeremy Henderson, al, "Auburn grad competing in Miss California USA pageant," 26 Jan. 2020 At a Blue Star camp last fall, DeBerry spent some time with Stewart, who is also an alumna of the Belles program. Alexa Philippou,, "2021 women’s basketball commit Amari DeBerry explains why she chose UConn, players she looks up to, and how she’s trying to elevate her game," 13 Dec. 2019 The lead author of the paper was Christina Williams, a UMass Amherst alumna who is now a postdoc at the University of Arizona., "A team of astronomers that included an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a massive “monster galaxy” 12.5 billion light-years away that was hiding behind a cloud of star dust.," 24 Oct. 2019 Williamson says his wife Kate Yulman is a Tulane alumna. Thom Duffy, Billboard, "Mavis Staples, Chris Robinson To Headline Tipping Point Benefit Concert for Tulane University," 21 Oct. 2019 Junior defender Maureen McGrath, a St. Viator alumna, is having a strong season as well. Bob Narang,, "College notes: North Central College among D-III football contenders," 19 Oct. 2019 Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts confirmed Tuesday night that Kurtz was an alumna. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Teacher, biologist, nurse: These are some of the victims of the California boat fire," 3 Sep. 2019 The Columbia alumna cut her teeth working for agents Elizabeth Wiederseim and Rhonda Price. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "Gersh Adds Former Sony Exec Lauren Craniotes, Promotes Three Others (Exclusive)," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alumna.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alumna

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alumna

Latin, feminine of alumnus

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Time Traveler for alumna

Time Traveler

The first known use of alumna was in 1843

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Statistics for alumna

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for alumna


How to pronounce alumna (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alumna

chiefly US : a woman who was a student at a particular school, college, or university


alum·​na | \ ə-ˈləm-nə How to pronounce alumna (audio) \
plural alumnae\ -​ˌnē \

Kids Definition of alumna

: a girl or woman who has attended or has graduated from a school, college, or university

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Spanish Central: Translation of alumna

Nglish: Translation of alumna for Spanish Speakers

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