alum·​na ə-ˈləm-nə How to pronounce alumna (audio)
plural alumnae ə-ˈləm-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce alumna (audio)
 also  -ˌnī
: a girl or woman who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university
an alumna of Smith College
: 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 An alumna of Barnard College, Columbia University and the Manhattan School of Music, Chan also is an accomplished violist. Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Yuan Yuan, an NYU Tisch Grad Film alumna whose project Late Spring is about a Chinese factory worker who comes to New York for her daughter’s college graduation and discovers that the girl is missing. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Nov. 2023 There will also be a special memoriam tribute to Friendly House alumna Carrie White, a celebrity hairstylist and author. Caroline Brew, Variety, 24 Oct. 2023 Other highlights include the filmmakers’ lunch, which will feature a keynote speech by two-time Academy Award-winning film costume designer Ruth E. Carter, an alumna of Hampton University. Melissa Noel, Essence, 16 Oct. 2023 Boston University alumna Olivia Culpo teamed up with eBay for an affordable line of dorm decor to make college feel more like home. Madison Roberts, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2023 The 30 Rock alumna and Bold and the Beautiful actress got engaged during the Italian getaway, with boyfriend Adam Taylor dropping to one knee to propose as the two stood on a rocky beach in Positano. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 24 Sep. 2023 Piza, an alumna of CAA, brings with her clients including Kendrick Sampson, JC Caylen and Olly Sholotan. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Sep. 2023 Yee is a alumna of the High School Journalism Institute, an annual collaboration among The Oregonian/OregonLive, Oregon State University and other Oregon media organizations. Kalia Yee, oregonlive, 26 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alumna.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, feminine of alumnus

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of alumna was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near alumna

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


alum·​na ə-ˈləm-nə How to pronounce alumna (audio)
plural alumnae -(ˌ)nē How to pronounce alumna (audio)
: a girl or woman who has attended or graduated from a particular school, college, or university

More from Merriam-Webster on alumna

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