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

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 Among them is University of Maryland alumnus, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Forrest N. Leamon, who died in an Afghanistan helicopter crash in 2009 at the age of 37. Mckenna Oxenden,, 7 June 2021 Davis, an alumnus of Baton Rouge Belaire Magnet, got his start in coaching at Southern Lab in the Louisiana capital city. Arkansas Online, 4 June 2021 Glavine himself is an alumnus of the program, playing first base from 1992-95., 3 June 2021 Cade Cunningham, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft, is an alumnus of Montverde. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 May 2021 In the book’s final scene, Brooks, in full academic regalia, delivers a lecture at Georgetown on the occasion of an alumnus’s $10.5 million gift to the school, a donation that includes an endowed professorship for herself. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, 25 May 2021 The college’s list of notable alumnus includes Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and former Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 27 Apr. 2021 Another alumnus from the 1970 Senate race was Lieberman, who opposed the Vietnam War but, as a Democratic senator from Connecticut, later voted in favor of the Iraq War. Daniela Altimari,, 26 Feb. 2021 He has been named an outstanding young alumnus of Baylor, Young Baylor Lawyer of the Year, and the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 11 May 2021

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.

See 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

Statistics for alumnus

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alumnus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 Thing: Dog Breeds

True or False

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


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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