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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

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 Murphy, a Syracuse alumnus added an extra point on the Panthers’ first touchdown, then closed out the first half with a 41-yard field goal as Michigan tied the Bandits at 13-all. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 14 May 2022 Vela earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at A&M Kingsville, which named him as a distinguished alumnus in 2015, the announcement states. Danya Perez, San Antonio Express-News, 11 May 2022 Her home is a short walk from the campus and her mother (Kelly) is a Roosevelt alumnus. oregonlive, 10 May 2022 Matthew Schmitz, chief growth officer for MartinFed, is a UNA alumnus. Paul Gattis |, al, 25 Apr. 2022 The openly gay speaker, the statement noted, was also an Oklahoma Christian University alumnus and was employed as an adjunct professor at the university for nearly 20 years. NBC News, 16 Mar. 2022 Tanner Clark, a Jimtown High School alumnus, told the Tribune that the video of his former teacher did not alter his opinion of the man. Abigail Adams,, 5 Mar. 2022 Styers is a Hawks alumnus who played hockey at Houston and graduated in 2013. Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Feb. 2022 As a UMass alumnus, Pitino either did or did not recommend Calipari for the head coaching job there. Arkansas Online, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About alumnus

Time Traveler for alumnus

Time Traveler

The first known use of alumnus was in 1645

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near alumnus




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for alumnus

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alumnus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for alumnus


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

More from Merriam-Webster on alumnus

Nglish: Translation of alumnus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alumnus for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!