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 In a broader sense, though, the high number of middle-to-working-class dropouts reflects a wisdom of crowds. Thomas Geoghegan, The New Republic, "This is a high school nation," 20 Jan. 2020 In addition, a few cannabis users experienced side effects at times severe enough to cause dropout from the studies. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Weed may not help cancer pain, study says," 20 Jan. 2020 The chart shows the trend in labor force participation and the unemployment rate adjusted for labor force dropouts (U6) from 2009-2019. Stephen Moore, Washington Examiner, "Working hard vs. hardly working," 16 Jan. 2020 The affidavit states that Wilson's name was not on the graduation list nor on the list of student dropouts from 1989. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Arkansas police chief resigns amid fraud investigation; filing alleged chief forged diploma," 31 Dec. 2019 At least one of the dropouts has not given up completely, though. The Economist, "America seeks faster ways to launch military satellites," 5 Dec. 2019 Large, affordable institutions like these are where most of the students are, as well as where most of the dropouts come from. James P. Sutton, National Review, "Fixing the College-Dropout Problem," 9 Aug. 2019 Each team is asked to reserve a fourth member in case of any dropouts. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Bear’s is looking for four teams to take on its ‘Bear Trap’ eating challenge at a Yard Goats game," 25 June 2019 According to Power to Decide, a campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, teen pregnancy is the leading reason girls drop out of school, accounting for a third of all dropouts among teen girls nationwide. Janna Zinzi, Teen Vogue, "For Teen Parents in Tulsa, Respect in School Is the Key to Success," 29 May 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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Time Traveler for dropout

Time Traveler

The first known use of dropout was in 1875

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Statistics for dropout

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dropout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dropout. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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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

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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

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