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

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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 Stacey Abrams, another Spelman alumna, was a driving force in the 2020 election. D'shonda Brown, Forbes, "TV Host Shaun Robinson Talks Black Female Representation In Leadership," 2 Mar. 2021 And the election win that made the pomp and celebration all possible was galvanized by Georgia’s voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, and a graduate of Spelman, and Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, an alumna of Florida A&M University. Janelle Harris Dixon, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Colleges Produced Generations of Black Women Leaders," 8 Feb. 2021 The rebuttal letters show that the community is changing, said Melissa Wray, an alumna who now runs a nonprofit arts space in town and wrote a letter herself. Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune, "Revered Minnesota prep football coach gets heat for comments about school's Diversity Club," 8 Feb. 2021 Tanden, who is also an alumna of former President Bill Clinton's administration, was a fierce backer of Hillary Clinton's two White House campaigns, using CAP to boost her bid. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Neera Tanden's feud with Bernie Sanders hangs over OMB Senate confirmation," 27 Jan. 2021 The former Obama administration alumna's House- and Senate-focused deputies, Reema Dodin and Shuwanza Goff, were well received too. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Growing pains: Biden slowed by early stumbles in first two weeks," 2 Feb. 2021 The Howard University alumna was a ninth-grade English teacher with the Teach for America program that sent her to Atlanta to start her post-graduate career. Essence, "How A Kind Gesture From Lena Waithe and Pitch Competitions Helped Grow This Pie Business," 23 Dec. 2020 In early November, Dana had a Zoom coffee appointment with Raven Payment, a native of Skowhegan and alumna of Skowhegan Area High School. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Maine remains only state to fully ban Native American mascots. Why haven't others followed?," 30 Dec. 2020 Berea High School alumna Stephanie Miles has been elected vice president of the Board of Directors of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Rich Heileman, cleveland, "Middleburg Heights crafter knows her bows: Around The Town," 18 Dec. 2020

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

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for alumna



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

Nglish: Translation of alumna for Spanish Speakers

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