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

Against all odds, the first of these, a full hundred pages largely describing the very least unique part of Snowden’s life—a hyper-intelligent but relatively unremarkable high school dropout—is not at all a waste of time. Wired, "After Six Years in Exile, Edward Snowden Explains Himself," 16 Sep. 2019 Henley, a high school dropout, had spent years luring young boys to their ultimate demise at Corll's hand. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Accomplice who killed Houston 'Candy Man' serial killer featured in Netflix’s ‘Mind Hunter'," 27 Aug. 2019 His current whereabouts haven’t been made public, and his status as a dropout makes him a target for murder by the Aryan Brotherhood or its allies. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Newsom allows famous Aryan Brotherhood dropout, convicted of two murders, to be paroled," 24 Aug. 2019 Frame, a thirty-nine-year-old high-school dropout from Las Vegas, asked recently, in a conference room at Citizen’s headquarters, in Manhattan. Antonia Hitchens, The New Yorker, "Citizen, the Smartphone Police Blotter," 22 July 2019 The movie is a drama about a graduate school dropout who, at the urging of her ailing mother, goes on a camping trip with her ex-boyfriend. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2 Milwaukee filmmakers get their close-up at Sundance, SXSW film festivals," 1 Feb. 2018 The dropouts could make life easier for voters like Cheri Schmitt, a 56-year-old elementary school teacher in New Hampshire who has set herself the goal of meeting each of the Democratic candidates. Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s remarks about ‘disloyal’ Jews highlight the tribalism of his politics," 23 Aug. 2019 In a world where college dropouts are business heroes, and only suckers pay their taxes, Ruiz would be the undisputed champion of taking shortcuts. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "Marathon cheater Rosie Ruiz was an anti-hero ahead of her time," 9 Aug. 2019 The two Stanford dropouts, both 23, are the founders of Brex, one of the hottest young companies today. Erin Griffith, New York Times, "Bad Times in Tech? Not if You’re a Start-Up Serving Other Start-Ups," 2 Aug. 2019

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

14 Oct 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

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 fake an opponent out of position

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