drop·​out | \ ˈdräp-ˌau̇t How to pronounce dropout (audio) \

Definition of dropout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one who drops out of school
b : one who drops out of conventional society
c : one who abandons an attempt, activity, or chosen path a corporate dropout
2 : a momentary defect on a magnetic tape or disk caused by a temporary loss of signal

drop out

\ ˌdräp-ˈau̇t How to pronounce drop out (audio) \
dropped out; dropping out; drops out

Definition of drop out (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to withdraw from participation or membership : quit especially : to withdraw from conventional society

Examples of dropout in a Sentence


The program is designed for dropouts who wish to get high school equivalency certificates.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald: Linden goes from near dropout to inspiration. OregonLive.com, "Boston shows sometimes you win a marathon by surviving it: Oregon track & field rundown," 17 Apr. 2018 Beginning next year, the mandate to carry insurance will no longer be the law of the land, which may lead to more middle class Obamacare dropouts. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Trump Declared Obamacare 'Dead.' Nearly 12 Million Americans Signed Up for It This Year," 4 Apr. 2018 LiAngelo Ball, 19, is an unemployed college dropout with a rap sheet after his chemical dump of a season at UCLA, most of which was spent dealing with a shoplifting charge in China. Sally Jenkins, chicagotribune.com, "Welcome to L.A., LeBron James. See yourself out, LaVar Ball.," 2 July 2018 Sometime before the sun fully rose on March 2, an unemployed college dropout arrived on Haverford Drive in northeast Austin and walked beneath the canopy of an oak tree. San Antonio Express-News, "‘This is our guy’ - inside the hunt for Austin’s serial bomber," 24 Mar. 2018 But a closer look at Mr. Salvini’s decisions in power suggests the open-shirted former college dropout from a gritty working class part of Milan is more of a pragmatist than his rhetoric implies. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy’s Far-Right Firebrand Takes Aim at Europe," 13 Feb. 2019 Just eight years ago, the college dropout rose to the highest elected office in Wisconsin. Scott Bauer, The Seattle Times, "Walker leaves a fundamentally changed Wisconsin," 7 Jan. 2019 Some were military veterans suffering from PTSD, and others were high-school dropouts. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "Students who beat steep odds credit Washington educators who wouldn’t give up on them," 4 Feb. 2019 Particularly when the idea comes from a precocious wunderkind college dropout claiming to have solved some intractable problem that the entire scientific establishment thinks impossible. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The downfall of Theranos, from the journalist who made it happen," 15 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dropout.' 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 dropout


1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1875, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for dropout

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dropout

The first known use of dropout was in 1875

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More Definitions for dropout



English Language Learners Definition of dropout

: a person who stops going to a school, college, etc., before finishing : a person who drops out of school
: a person who stops being involved in society because he or she does not believe in its rules, customs, and values


drop·​out | \ ˈdräp-ˌau̇t How to pronounce dropout (audio) \

Kids Definition of dropout

: a person who quits school or a training program

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More from Merriam-Webster on dropout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dropout

Nglish: Translation of dropout for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dropout for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dropout

What made you want to look up dropout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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