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

Noun The program is designed for dropouts who wish to get high school equivalency certificates.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The clip features actor Griffin Gluck, who plays a suburban teenager who falls under the wing of his sister's ex-boyfriend, a destructive college dropout named Zeke (Davidson). Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Machine Gun Kelly & Pete Davidson Star in 'Big Time Adolescence' Trailer," 19 Feb. 2020 This is, at least, the perspective of the novel’s narrator, Lizzie, a grad-school dropout living at the frontier of gentrifying Brooklyn. Lauren Oyler, The New Yorker, "Are Novels Trapped by the Present?," 12 Feb. 2020 Limbaugh is a college dropout from Cape Girardeau, Miss., who spends Sundays watching the NFL and speaks in plain language. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The Era of Limbaugh," 8 Feb. 2020 The story centers Cassie, a med school dropout who lives with her parents and works at a quaint coffee shop. Joi Childs, Teen Vogue, ""Promising Young Woman" Is an Unapologetic Revenge Fantasy Aimed at Rape Culture," 30 Jan. 2020 But the linchpin of his success was Atlanta, a restlessly experimental FX comedy about a broke Princeton dropout (Glover) who’s pinned his hopes to managing his up-and-coming rapper cousin Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry). Judy Berman, Time, "The 10 Best TV Shows of the 2010s," 15 Nov. 2019 The national high school dropout rate is slightly below 6%. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Georgia tech college system offers path to high school credential," 22 Jan. 2020 Some factors contributing to labor-force dropout and wage stagnation have nothing to do with immigration. Steven A. Camarota, National Review, "Unskilled Immigration Lowers Labor-Force Participation," 25 July 2019 Out of the profusion of statistics that support this fact, the most telling may be that math performance by American high school graduates is roughly the same as most high school dropouts in other countries. Sian Beilock, Quartz, "Why Americans are bad at math," 19 Feb. 2020

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

Time Traveler for dropout

Time Traveler

The first known use of dropout was in 1875

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dropout

Last Updated

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dropout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dropout. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dropout


How to pronounce drop out (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!