alum·​na | \ə-ˈləm-nə \
plural alumnae\ -​(ˌ)nē 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

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 Emily Burrow Palomar College Softball Burrow, an alumna of Great Oak High School, is in the midst of her rookie season at Palomar. Mark Iandolo,, "Where are they now? Maulupe, Burrow, Maitlan and Stout," 11 May 2018 The alumna has spent the last three decades as a Broadway musical director, supervisor and conductor for composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. John Benson,, "Broadway professional and Fairview High School '72 alumna Kristen Blodgette visits with students," 2 May 2018 Brewer graduated from Spelman in 1984, making her the first alumna to deliver the address since Marian Wright Edelman addressed the graduating class of 1988. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Starbucks exec to give Spelman College commencement address," 26 Apr. 2018 Both camps emphasize boating and seamanship, said Sallie Ransom, senior vice president of financial development for both camps – and a Seafarer alumna herself. Page Leggett, charlotteobserver, "At these YMCA camps, kids learn to sail, take in nature and 'make friends for life'," 12 July 2018 Zomorodi and her fellow WNYC alumna Jen Poyant started Stable Genius Productions earlier this year, and last month unveiled its first podcast, ZigZag. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Can blockchain save journalism? Manoush Zomorodi doesn’t know, either, but she’s going to find out.," 12 July 2018 Diamond Brogan Irvine Valley College Volleyball Brogan, an alumna of Heritage High School, recently completed her sophomore year at Irvine Valley. Mark Iandolo,, "Where are they now? Adams, Brogan, Thompson and Yazid," 6 July 2018 Greenwalt asked Victoria Hicks, a friend and fellow Satellite High School alumna, to discuss her breast cancer diagnosis with the health department. Jason Kelly And Melonie Holt, ajc, "High number of cancer cases among Florida high school friends prompts doctor to urge investigation," 20 June 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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Statistics for alumna

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for alumna

The first known use of alumna was in 1843

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More Definitions for alumna



English Language Learners Definition of alumna

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


alum·​na | \ə-ˈləm-nə \
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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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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