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 McGilpin, an alumna of Governor Deval Patrick’s office, served as Walsh’s press secretary before taking the lead communications role at the BPDA in 2016. Globe Staff,, 20 July 2022 Blackstone, an alumna of Arizona State University, is an official scorer for Major League Baseball and the first female official scorer assigned to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mary Beth Faller, The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2022 Breanna Jenco, Xavier University women's golf head coach Jenco, an alumna of Xavier University, was named the Musketeers' head coach in 2015 after working two seasons as an assistant with Akron. Sara Tidwell, The Enquirer, 23 June 2022 Louwaillen Krupa, alumna of Moraine Valley Community College, has won the 2021 Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, which honors one noteworthy senior from each four-year degree-granting school in Illinois. C.r. Walker, Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 Another alumna, designer Omnia Raouf Noly, sells her handmade purses through Noly Bags. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 19 Dec. 2021 Elected in 2014 at age 30, the polished, media-savvy Harvard alumna was a fresh, friendly, moderate face that many hoped would help the GOP shed its image as a bunch of angry old white guys. Arkansas Online, 9 May 2021 Sadie, too, is an alumna of the stage, having starred as Annie in Annie in 2013. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 21 July 2022 Pascua is an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund multiplatform editing residency and a former editing intern for The New York Times. Sabrina Pascua, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 July 2022 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

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alumna.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 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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