drop·​out | \ ˈdräp-ˌau̇t \

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 \

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

Research shows that high school dropouts are nearly three times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed. Alina Tugend, New York Times, "Goodwill Working to Help Dropouts," 5 Apr. 2018 Two college dropouts in their early 20s, Enrique Rodriquez and Jacob Melin, invest in cryptocurrency and educate others on how to do the same. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "How two Louisville college dropouts in their 20s made a mint in Bitcoins," 29 Mar. 2018 The trial had a high dropout rate of nearly 12 percent in the active group because of side-effects, and nearly all the participants getting the treatment had a reaction during the treatment period, two-thirds of them moderate or severe. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Some promising news for kids with peanut allergies," 23 Nov. 2018 The effort expanded to at least 17 Bridgescape schools in six states within a couple years with the goal of reducing school dropout rates in urban areas. Fox News, "LeBron James joins other celebrities who launched schools," 31 July 2018 The issue is that the state will now count high school students who transfer to adult school as dropouts, said Oscar Lafarga, who heads the district’s office of data and accountability. Howard Blume, latimes.com, "L.A. school district says more are graduating, but rate may not show it," 20 June 2018 There’s the tenacious drive of a high school dropout, never caving to the work world’s long hours or lingering lessons. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "NBC to shine huge Kentucky Derby spotlight on San Diego," 2 May 2018 Harvard's supremacy might have been even more emphatic, if the list had only included several notable dropouts, like Bill Gates. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Harvard Doesn't Suck," 26 Sep. 2014 The majority of dropouts at Highlands and in SAISD are at least one year too old for their grade level and most have been held back at least once, administrators said. Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, "SAISD board okays another charter partnership," 27 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of dropout


1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1875, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dropout

Statistics for dropout

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dropout

The first known use of dropout was in 1875

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of dropout

: a person who quits school or a training program

Keep scrolling for more

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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