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 question of how the idealistic business-school dropout came to work at the big-box retailer has gone unanswered for the entirety of the NBC show’s six-season run. Ashley Lee Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "How those emotional last minutes of the ‘Superstore’ series finale came to be," 25 Mar. 2021 Back then, the 20-something high school dropout wasn’t yet a legendary Grammy winner. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "From rock to opera, Austin live music scene plays on during pandemic," 11 Mar. 2021 Lavelle, a college dropout and part-time ticket scalper with some of his father’s good-hearted charm, looks like the solution to the kingdom’s problems. New York Times, "‘Coming 2 America’ Review: Comedic Royalty," 4 Mar. 2021 Communities in which labor-force dropout is widespread and widely accepted are not happy ones; a policy that sustains people in joblessness is not ultimately anti-poverty. Oren Cass, Star Tribune, "The Biden and Romney family plans go too far," 3 Mar. 2021 One of the leaders of the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkout to protest discrimination and dropout rates among Mexican American students, which triggered a movement across the American Southwest. Anchorage Daily News, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 In part because of the dropout rate, Kroep’s team couldn’t go on to compare biomarkers predicting overall survival in the two groups. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Special diets might boost the power of drugs to vanquish cancers," 1 Apr. 2021 The annual dropout rate also decreased by 0.3 percentage points, from 4.2 percent in the 2018-19 academic year to 3.9 percent in 2019-20. BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Public Schools hit highest-ever four-year graduation rate in 2020," 19 Mar. 2021 The report cites subscription service platform Zuora that the media business has an average subscription dropout rate of 34 percent, the highest of any industry sector studied. Washington Post, "FDA-approved gaming is already here, pointing to its therapeutic potential," 16 Mar. 2021

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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dropout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dropout. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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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