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

The saloon/burger joint has long been a favorite hangout of students and alumni of Stanford University. John Horgan, The Mercury News, "Horgan: Nasty nerd alert belies area’s alleged tolerance," 20 June 2019 His death was noted two days later by The New England Review of Books on its website and the Boston University alumni magazine, Bostonia, noted his death in its recent winter-spring issue. Bill Morris,, "Keith Botsford, man of letters and Saul Bellow associate, dies at 90," 18 June 2019 After Jones made his pro debut last season by hitting .342 with nine homers and 41 RBIs with Napa in the Pacific Association, Tagert made his way from his home in Sacramento to watch Jones play in January in a Cal State East Bay alumni game. Michael Osipoff, Post-Tribune, "'I just have to keep building': Raymond Jones recovers from 'freak' injury, returns to form with RailCats," 15 June 2019 The Times of London published an obituary two months later, and the Boston University alumni magazine, Bostonia, noted his death in its recent winter-spring issue. Bill Morris, New York Times, "Keith Botsford, Man of Letters and Saul Bellow Associate, Dies at 90," 14 June 2019 In an email to the college alumni association, an Oberlin vice president, Donica Thomas Varner, said legal counsel was reviewing the verdict and deciding how to proceed. Washington Post, "Protests at Oberlin labeled a bakery racist. Now, the college will pay $11 million for libel.," 10 June 2019 There will be an alumni softball game before Sunday's game, and then the former players will disappear, along with this weekend's time warp and old teal. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Marlins' 25th Anniversary Weekend underlines Derek Jeter's obligation to heal deep wounds," 9 June 2018 During her tenure, an alumni association was formed, annual club activities developed and a bond formed with families and parishioners, the proclamation noted. Pioneer Press,, "What's happening in Elmwood Park: Village hall to receive new front entrance; St. Celestine principal honored," 14 May 2018 There’s nothing pro forma about the personal testimony from alumni of McNally’s work, including Edie Falco, Joe Mantello, Chita Rivera and John Glover. Charles Mcnulty,, "Review: PBS documentary of playwright Terrence McNally celebrates a master of connection," 13 June 2019

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

8 Jul 2019

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

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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