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

The Quantico alumna opted for a peach ruffled dress while her husband went for a summery yellow shirt and ripped jeans. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner, Priyanka Chopra, Joe Jonas, and Nick Jonas Cannot Be Bothered on Their Parisian Cruise," 24 June 2019 An Indiana University alumna, Overton has had an extensive career covering sports throughout the state. Robert General, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis sports anchor Larra Overton joins Colts as producer, on-air talent," 18 June 2019 The Oberlin College alumna has also appeared on CBS show 2 Broke Girls, as well as other series like Clipped, Girl Meets World, and Superstore. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'NCIS' Announces Diona Reasonover Is Permanently Replacing Pauley Perette," 19 July 2018 The tournament runs through Sunday and features Alexandra Swayne, (Clemson University), former No. 1 amateur in Ohio and Kings High School alumna, and several players from Ohio State, including Big Ten champion Nikolette Schroeder. Jason Hoffman,, "TPC River's Bend hosting one-of-a-kind tournament for LPGA's Symetra Tour," 28 June 2019 One alumna whom authorities interviewed had a unique insight into the legal task. Harriet Ryan,, "Women who say USC gynecologist molested them find hope in criminal charges," 27 June 2019 The star’s aura, as an alumna of the Disney Channel, and her racy rebellion against the constraints of its wholesomeness enhances the show’s meaning. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Best Episode of the New “Black Mirror” Is a Princess Tale Starring Miley Cyrus," 5 June 2019 Originally billed as Daria and Jodie, MTV Studios announced Thursday that the show has been redeveloped as Jodie with Tracee Ellis Ross executive producing and voicing Lawndale High School’s notable alumna. Marcus Jones,, "Tracee Ellis Ross is voicing Jodie in a new Daria spin-off from MTV Studios," 13 June 2019 Several other alumnae have run for office, two have been appointed to state boards and many others serve on nonprofit boards. Elaine Ayala,, "Female majority on San Antonio City Council was years in the making," 11 June 2019

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

21 Jul 2019

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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

Comments on alumna

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