alum·​nus | \ ə-ˈləm-nəs How to pronounce alumnus (audio) \
plural alumni\ ə-​ˈləm-​ˌnī How to pronounce alumnus (audio) \

Definition of alumnus

1 : a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university an alumnus of Columbia University usually used of a man in the singular but often of men and women in the plural
2 : a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate a Saturday Night Live alumnus

Alumnus or Alumna?

Many people are comfortable using the word alumni to refer to someone who was a student of a particular school. However, others feel quite strongly that this is an error and that the following forms should be used: alumnus (for one male), alumni (for multiple males, or for a mix of males and females), alumna (for one female), and alumnae (for multiple females). The shortened form alum and its plural form alums began to be used in the 19th century. Initially, alum was widely viewed as highly colloquial or informal, but is increasing in use as a gender-neutral alternative.

Examples of alumnus in a Sentence

Her parents are alumni of the state university.
Recent Examples on the Web The Carthage alumnus has a 2.93 ERA in 12 games this season, appearing mostly at Class A. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 27 July 2022 Cooper is the sixth Auburn alumnus chosen for the MLB All-Star Game. Mark Inabinett |, al, 19 July 2022 The Musical: The Series, the Disney Channel alumnus attended the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards, where he was shown excitedly reacting to Carpenter's presence at the event. Kelsie Gibson,, 15 July 2022 Crane, the legislator and Boise State alumnus, had a role in one of the university’s early concessions. Daniel Golden, ProPublica, 4 July 2022 Zielke said that when an alumnus expressed the desire to speak before the meeting officially began, an argument ensued. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 30 June 2022 The University of Wisconsin alumnus had a massive second year with the Colts, rushing for more than 1,800 yards with 18 touchdowns. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 28 June 2022 Rogers, a 26-year-old Savannah College of Art and Design alumnus, shot to prominence in the fashion world after winning the 2020 Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund prize for young designers and was widely hailed as the face of New York Fashion Week’s future. Emerald Elitou, Essence, 9 June 2022 His LinkedIn profile shows that the Indian Insitute of Management Banglore alumnus relocated to the US in April to take up a product role. Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 10 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alumnus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of alumnus

1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alumnus

Latin, foster son, pupil, from alere to nourish — more at old

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Time Traveler for alumnus

Time Traveler

The first known use of alumnus was in 1645

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Statistics for alumnus

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alumnus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for alumnus


alum·​nus | \ ə-ˈləm-nəs How to pronounce alumnus (audio) \
plural alumni\ -​ˌnī \

Kids Definition of alumnus

: a person who has attended or has graduated from a school, college, or university

More from Merriam-Webster on alumnus

Nglish: Translation of alumnus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alumnus for Arabic Speakers


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