alum·nus | \ə-ˈləm-nəs \
plural alumni\-ˌnī \

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

Tickets are $12; $10 for seniors and Valencia students, staff and alumni; $6 for children 12 and younger; go to Matthew J. Palm,, "Valencia gets $10,000 to stage iconic dance work," 9 July 2018 But my fellow students and alumni were united by a deep respect for our common accomplishment—which is now in jeopardy. Maximilian Ximenez, WSJ, "Will New York’s Mayor Erase Real Diversity?," 2 July 2018 Miller is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Community Report, Houston Chronicle, "Cleveland’s Miller inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi," 1 July 2018 For more than a week, lawmakers, students and alumni excoriated Michigan State University Interim President John Engler. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State board after John Engler apology: His job is safe," 21 June 2018 Faculty from PNW’s English department develop all of the curriculum and train and coordinate volunteers made up of PNW faculty, students and alumni, as well as community members. Staff Report, Post-Tribune, "Community news," 31 May 2018 In response to the scandal, USC President C. L. Max Nikias stepped down last Friday after thousands of students and alumni signed a letter demanding his resignation, according to CNN. Jessica Taylor Price, Teen Vogue, "Women Accuse Former USC Gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of Inappropriate Conduct," 30 May 2018 The decision comes after dozens of professors, students and alumni called for Nikias' resignation in the wake of the scandal. CBS News, "USC president Max Nikias steps down amid scandal of gynecologist accused of abuse," 25 May 2018 Starting the festivities was a cocktail reception including Tulane students, alumni, faculty and Business School Council members; entrepreneurs and business people at the tea room's patio, followed by a dinner program inside. Sue Strachan,, "Patrick Comer and Sandy Rosenthal honored by Tulane University for entrepreneurial acuity," 22 May 2018

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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Statistics for alumnus

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for alumnus

The first known use of alumnus was in 1645

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More Definitions for alumnus



English Language Learners Definition of alumnus

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


alum·nus | \ə-ˈləm-nəs \
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

Comments on alumnus

What made you want to look up alumnus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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