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

About his schooling, Jimmy Breslin, born in Queens, notes that no one could call him a high-school dropout. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists’ Review: Blue Collars, Stained With Ink," 24 Jan. 2019 Tess Rinearson Tess Rinearson, 24, isn’t shy about telling you she’s a college dropout. Morgen Peck, Glamour, "Cryptocurrency Is Not Just a Boys' Club," 11 Dec. 2018 Realistically, the 60 million Americans currently earning less than $15 per hour (plus many retirees and longtime labor force dropouts) would also stampede into this program. Brian Riedl, Vox, "America might be ready for democratic socialism. It’s not ready for the bill.," 7 Aug. 2018 Beyond the dropout campaigns aimed at members, conservatives are bringing lawsuits to retroactively recover fees collected by unions from nonmembers. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Labor Unions Will Be Smaller After Supreme Court Decision, but Maybe Not Weaker," 27 June 2018 The movie, which was featured on the 2014 Black List, follows a teen boy coming of age in his dull suburban town under the destructive guidance of his best friend, a charismatic college dropout (Davidson). Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Pete Davidson to Lead Indie 'Big Time Adolescence'," 26 June 2018 Watching him play the ensemble’s slouchy, somewhat self-loathing law school dropout turned bartender was like sliding under a gravity blanket warmed to the temperature of a freshly-baked croissant. Clay Skipper, GQ, "Jake Johnson Is Just Here For a Good Time," 14 June 2018 The poverty rate among high school dropouts in Detroit was 46.7 percent, according to the latest government data, while the figure in Chicago was 30.4 percent and in Seattle 32 percent. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "These Detroiters aren't looking for jobs. Why might surprise you," 8 June 2018 Funding for dropout recovery schools is routed from the state’s Workforce Development Department to the Department of Education, Coble said. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Gary Excel Center, Goodwill outlet eye April opening," 4 June 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.

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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

4 Feb 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 \

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

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).


a servile follower or underling

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