alum·​nus | \ ə-ˈləm-nəs How to pronounce alumnus (audio) \
plural alumni\ ə-​ˈləm-​ˌnī How to pronounce alumni (audio) \

Definition of alumnus

1 : a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university an alumnus of Columbia University usually used of a man in the singular but often of men and women in the plural
2 : a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate a Saturday Night Live alumnus

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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 alumnus in a Sentence

Her parents are alumni of the state university.
Recent Examples on the Web Miller became the 43rd player who has chosen not to participate during the 2020 NFL season, and the fifth Alabama alumnus to do so. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Christian Miller joins players opting out of NFL season," 3 Aug. 2020 Poppen, a lanky Harvard alumnus whom the Twins drafted in the 14th round in 2016, appeared in four games in relief for the Twins last June and July. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Cautious Twins put pitcher Homer Bailey on injured list," 3 Aug. 2020 An Auburn alumnus, Greene will team with four other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – Cris Carter, Michael Irvin, Orlando Pace and Bruce Smith. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Marlon Humphrey, Kevin Greene playing ‘Celebrity Family Feud’ on Sunday night," 12 July 2020 Lane Stadium, on the other hand, is named for Edward Hudson Lane, an alumnus who was instrumental in developing the university’s athletics programs. Henri Gendreau, Washington Post, "Racial reckoning draws in namesakes of Virginia Tech’s past," 11 July 2020 The guys give good political humor, and offer a necessary late-night perspective purely by virtue of not being a white guy named Jimmy or a Daily Show alumnus. Darren Franich,, "Emmys: The time has come to nominate Desus & Mero," 9 July 2020 In a response on Instagram, Stanford alumnus and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Alexander Massialas said the decision was unfair to athletes who have worked hard to achieve their dreams of playing collegiate sports. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Stanford eliminates 11 varsity sports after suffering economic downturn because of coronavirus," 8 July 2020 Barajas, a UC Berkeley alumnus and health professional, said in a separate video posted Friday. Chase Difeliciantonio,, "Video shows Mexican-American man blocked from entering his San Francisco apartment building," 27 June 2020 One dramatic moment came when an alumnus who now serves as a lawyer for some of the tribes based in the Upper Peninsula addressed the group. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Is the bell tolling for Native American mascots?," 22 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alumnus.' 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 alumnus

1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alumnus

Latin, foster son, pupil, from alere to nourish — more at old

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Time Traveler for alumnus

Time Traveler

The first known use of alumnus was in 1645

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Statistics for alumnus

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alumnus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for alumnus


How to pronounce alumnus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alumnus

chiefly US : someone who was a student at a particular school, college, or university


alum·​nus | \ ə-ˈləm-nəs How to pronounce alumnus (audio) \
plural alumni\ -​ˌnī \

Kids Definition of alumnus

: a person who has attended or has graduated from a school, college, or university

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More from Merriam-Webster on alumnus

Spanish Central: Translation of alumnus

Nglish: Translation of alumnus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alumnus for Arabic Speakers

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