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

Polka on a tear for Robert Morris softball Chrissy Polka, a Maine South alumna and senior catcher on the Robert Morris (Ill.) softball team, has been one of the Eagles’ most productive hitters lately. Sam Brief,, "College notes: Glenview natives earn academic honors with Dartmouth football," 19 Apr. 2018 Follow in the footsteps of Johns Hopkins alumna Taylor Nolan and Baltimore native Eric Bigger on the dating reality TV show route. Brittany Britto,, "Auditions for 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' at Live Casino & Hotel on Thursday," 19 June 2018 The school is doing the heavy lifting of mounting the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by alumna Du Yun, but Cleveland Opera Theater is sponsoring the first performance of a production running Jan. 31 to Feb. 7. Patrick Cooley,, "Vintage pictures of a frozen Lake Erie," 18 Jan. 2018 As a proud alumna of UD, her commitment to her work was exceeded only by her boundless energy. Samantha Schmidt,, "Affair leads to murder-suicide in quiet Pennsylvania town, leaving two women dead: police," 25 Apr. 2018 As a proud alumna of UD, her commitment to her work was exceeded only by her boundless energy. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Love triangle ends in murder-suicide with 'blood everywhere' as disguised wife guns down mistress, cops say," 25 Apr. 2018 McCloskey, a Baltimore resident and Maryvale Prep alumna, was the Greyhounds' women's lacrosse coach from 1977 to 1986, compiling a 103-43-4 record., "Loyola Maryland coach, administrator Anne McCloskey dies at 87," 8 Apr. 2018 Carrie Underwood, American Idol alumna, and country music sensation revealed she’s expecting her second child with her hockey player husband Mike Fisher. Devon Elizabeth, Allure, "Carrie Underwood Announces On Social Media She's Pregnant With Her Second Child," 8 Aug. 2018 An alumna of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism and the Bronx High School of Science, Kelley is a New York native with interests spanning both reporting and media production. Sonaiya Kelley,, "The Neighbourhood on identity, Coachella and bouncing back from bad reviews," 17 Apr. 2018

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

The first known use of alumna was in 1843

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on alumna

Spanish Central: Translation of alumna

Nglish: Translation of alumna for Spanish Speakers

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