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

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 This year, the Rashi School honored community leaders Michele and Darren Black with the Kehillah Community Award and Rashi alumna Clara Scheinmann with the Tikkun Alum Award. Globe Correspondent,, 13 May 2022 Each received $500, their name on a plaque on CIA’s campus, and a one-of-a-kind certificate designed by CIA alumna Julia Milbrandt. cleveland, 6 May 2022 Three years later, after an alumna made a major donation, the alumni association decided to fund the restoration. Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant, 7 Apr. 2022 Judge Jackson, an alumna of both Harvard Law School and the association, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday and will become the first Black female justice in the court’s 233-year history. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 Breland and Jenna Goodwin, executive director of administration and production at the Alabama School of the Arts and an alumna of Voices herself, recently took time to talk about Allen’s sudden prominence. al, 28 Mar. 2022 The Windward School alumna averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds during the two victories that helped UCLA regain momentum after losing eight of its previous 10 games. Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2022 The buzz: The Boyne City native and Boyne City High alumna made it to the first finals run on Monday morning, after taking third in the second qualifying run. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 14 Feb. 2022 Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard alumna, declined through aides to comment on the controversy at Howard. Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN, 14 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near alumna

alum leather



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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for alumna


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

Nglish: Translation of alumna for Spanish Speakers


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