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

After Evergreen State and the University of Missouri caved to identity-politics demands, they were shunned by alumni, parents, prospective students and fans. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "It Pays to Be A Wyoming Cowboy," 8 Mar. 2019 Two lawsuits have already been filed by alumni, donors and others challenging any potential sale, and additional lawsuits are very likely, according to people involved in the litigation. David W. Chen, New York Times, "Rider Reaches Deal to Sell Westminster Choir College to Chinese Firm," 21 June 2018 Also, the district posted information to a private Facebook page with more than 2,500 Nicolet alumni as followers. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More Nicolet High School alumni claim former math teacher sexually abused them," 7 June 2018 To help lower tuition, the college hopes to raise $300 million in gifts from alumni and other philanthropists to double its endowment by 2023. Morgan Lee, Fox News, "Small private US college slashes tuition by $17K annually," 12 Sep. 2018 Michael Stockbridge, a Salem resident and university alum, was added to the 19-member board, which is comprised of alumni and community leaders who raise and manage funds donated to the university. Morgan Hughes,, "Curing the flu, wedding dresses for soldiers, and food for the elderly," 13 July 2018 The board of trustees is a group of more than 100 alumni and other boosters involved in the university. Don Markus,, "Maryland board of trustees will be brought up to date on external investigation into McNair's death on Monday conference call," 25 June 2018 Further, Tronc has created a scholarship fund for journalism students at the University of Maryland in College Park, where Mr. Fischman and Mr. McNamara were alumni and where Mr. Hiaasen taught. Jaclyn Peiser, New York Times, "A Moment of Silence and Reporting Help for The Capital Gazette," 5 July 2018 With Maryland on the brink of naming Kevin Anderson’s successor as athletic director, there has been much discussion in recent days among fans, alumni and coaches regarding the candidacy of the three men who were interviewed last week for the job. Don Markus,, "Assessing the pros and cons of Maryland's athletic director candidates," 25 June 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

13 May 2019

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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

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

Comments on alumnus

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highly pertinent or appropriate

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