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

Since its start in 2011, Silver Fork has had an employment success rate of about 70 percent, with alumni working in various hospitality roles from cooking in restaurants like Big Jim’s to managing roles at Eataly. Grace Wong,, "Silver Fork teaches culinary skills, confidence," 9 July 2018 The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, created in 1971, holds a partnership with the magnet school to offer annual scholarships to alumni. Adrianne Richardson, miamiherald, "Students get $1.000 scholarships from Commission for Women," 2 July 2018 The network is also connecting young scientists with Obama administration alumni who worked under John Holdren in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "New Group Aims to Bolster Science in Policymaking," 25 June 2018 The tribute was produced by Roger McNamee, founder of Moonalice, with KFOG alumni Renee Richardson and Jude Heller. Ben Fong-torres,, "Listeners mourn loss of ‘Acoustic Sunrise’," 25 June 2018 About 100 children from various Boys & Girls Club chapters got a chance to brush up on their baseball skills with some Los Angeles Dodgers alumni this week. Anthony Clark Carpio,, "Local children get some pitching tips during annual youth baseball clinic," 22 June 2018 Feis Bowl Rain or shine, 5-9 p.m., end-of-the-year bash by the Aaron Feis Foundation with current and alumni MSD football team members and friends., "Coral Springs and Coconut Creek area events, June 6-16," 6 June 2018 The Northwestern State baseball coach had just taken a picture with seven alumni who made the trip up from Louisiana to Oregon for the NCAA Regionals. Brody Miller,, "Northwestern State makes some history in dominant regional win against San Diego State," 2 June 2018 Native Americans represent 4 percent of the student body, with more than 1,000 alumni. Stephanie Morales, Fox News, "Dartmouth students hands-on in learning Native traditions," 28 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

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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