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

But when the #MeToo movement struck the Cadets, left behind was a group of members and alumni, shell-shocked and grief-stricken, who still cared deeply for the organization. Tricia L. Nadolny,, "Allentown's famed Cadets rise again after months of scandal and tumult," 3 July 2018 Art works by past and present WA faculty, alumni, and current students fill the walls in a beautiful space on the center's second floor. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Gallery "Connects" Students To World Of Art," 8 May 2018 The 1979 Ramona High School alumnus has a Cinderella story to tell, starting with wanting to be an interior decorator after graduating to taking leadership roles in project management and quality control and assurance. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Detours in life lead to construction success," 8 May 2018 That means a company that wants to reach potential customers in Louisville and elevate its name around the region, if not nationally, is likely to step in, Brand said, adding that in the case of colleges, an alumni link is always possible, too. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Pizza Hut, Kroger, Republic Bank? Who wants Cardinal Stadium naming rights," 13 July 2018 After playing in an alumni lacrosse scrimmage, the rising sophomore passed out suffering from bleeding in the brain and never recovered. Scott Springer,, "Ladonnis Griffin's biggest play ever at Lakota West was a GoFundMe page," 12 July 2018 Amid the national uproar over immigrant arrests and detentions, nearly 2,000 students, faculty and alumni have signed an open letter demanding the contract be spiked immediately. Fox News, "Protesters targeting Northeastern over $2.7M ICE contract," 11 July 2018 The open practices will also feature free parking and activities throughout the stadium, such as face painting and alumni autograph sessions. Mitchell Gladstone,, "Eagles announce training camp schedule, open practice dates," 11 July 2018 Recent Oilers alumnus George Gleason (15:17.22) placed third in the men’s open division. Andrew Turner,, "Jeff Thies reigns supreme once more at Surf City Run," 11 July 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

16 Sep 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

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to make amends

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