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 Sarah Zaphiris, 44, a white Boston Latin School alumna in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, started a petition, which drew nearly 6,000 signatures, urging the district to go ahead with the MAP test. NBC News, "A golden ticket: Efforts to diversify Boston's elite high schools spur hope and outrage," 17 Mar. 2021 San Antonian Kiana Williams, a Wagner alumna, started slow but made two huge plays down the stretch, hitting an off-balance shot in the lane with 2:06 left and firing a long pass for a fast-break bucket with 1:42 to go. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Mike Finger: In thrilling fashion, Stanford's symphony hits final note," 2 Apr. 2021 Martin-Green is an alumna of the University of Alabama’s theater program and a native of Russellville, a small town about 100 miles northwest of Birmingham. Ashley Remkus |, al, "New ‘Space Jam’ trailer: Alabama’s Sonequa Martin-Green joins LeBron James in Tunes vs. Goons," 3 Apr. 2021 Walter was casually glamorous and poised and sure of speech, an alumna of New York’s High School of Performing Arts and Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: Jessica Walter, wickedly smart and smartly wicked, brought strength to the screen," 26 Mar. 2021 Jessica Hill Howard, an alumna of Southern Methodist University, launched Sicily Hill, her line of cocktail and beverage-inspired candles in 2017. NBC News, "International Women's Day 2021: 101 best women-owned brands," 9 Mar. 2021 Salem State University has received a $6 million donation from one of its most generous alumna and her husband, the largest cash gift given to any state university in Massachusetts, school officials announced. Breanne Kovatch,, "Salem State University receives $6 million, largest cash donation ever received by a Mass. state university," 20 Feb. 2021 Moltzan, an alumna of Buck Hill's ski racing program, is having a career-best season on the World Cup circuit, sitting 24th in the overall standings with top-10 finishes in both slalom and giant slalom. Star Tribune, "Whitecaps' game postponed after its last opponent withdraws from NWHL because of COVID-19 concerns," 28 Jan. 2021 McDaniel College announced Jessica Willoughby, a 2018 alumna, to be the new coordinator for the graduate deaf education program. Kristen Griffith,, "Q&A: McDaniel College names new graduate coordinator for deaf education," 22 Mar. 2021

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 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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