1 of 2


drop·​out ˈdräp-ˌau̇t How to pronounce dropout (audio)
: one who drops out of school
: one who drops out of conventional society
: one who abandons an attempt, activity, or chosen path
a corporate dropout
: a momentary defect on a magnetic tape or disk caused by a temporary loss of signal

drop out

2 of 2


dropped out; dropping out; drops out

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
The tight labor market and more college dropouts have forced most organizations to rethink their hiring. Kara Dennison, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Student loan debt for more than a million college dropouts grew by nearly $1 billion in recent years, according to a new report. Zachary Schermele, USA TODAY, 31 Jan. 2024 The cause of the communications dropout and the helicopter’s orientation at time of touchdown are still being investigated. IEEE Spectrum, 26 Jan. 2024 Her performance adds a hopeful edge to Karla, turning the character into something more than just a college dropout with addiction issues. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2024 By 1950, attendance was so universal that those who weren’t in school were called dropouts. Alec MacGillis, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 The most recent dropout, DeSantis, suspended his campaign on Sunday and endorsed Trump in the process. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 24 Jan. 2024 Later, Trump gave Tim Scott, another of the dropouts, the chance to repeat the homage. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2024 The Oxford dropout worked as a negotiator for the United Nations and the Dutch government early in his career, but then pivoted to AI and founded DeepMind in 2010 alongside Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg. Will Daniel, Fortune, 17 Jan. 2024
Research has shown that ethnic studies classes can raise grades and attendance for teenagers at risk of dropping out. Dana Goldstein, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Rosendale spoke with Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines and agreed with him that dropping out would be the best course of action for Republicans to regain the majority in the Senate, according to the statement. Antonio Pequeño Iv, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Related Articles That would mean not dropping out today or tomorrow or any day when party primaries are still proceeding. Ross Douthat, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Tiësto was originally slated for the gig, but the Grammy-winning DJ had to drop out this week due to a family emergency. Dustin Nelson, EW.com, 9 Feb. 2024 In 2015, she was forced to drop out of Dancing with the Stars due to blood clots in both of her lungs. Nicole Briese, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 Internal polling can even be used to push opponents to drop out, showing unrecoverable levels of support. Leah Askarinam, ABC News, 7 Feb. 2024 Once girls in my community are married, they are forced to drop out of school to take care of the household and start a family. TIME, 6 Feb. 2024 Besides Haley, the seven-person GOP primary field included former candidates Mike Pence and Tim Scott, who both dropped out of the race after the primary ballot had been locked in, as well as four relatively unknown hopefuls. CBS News, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dropout.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dropout was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near dropout

Cite this Entry

“Dropout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dropout. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
drop·​out ˈdräp-ˌau̇t How to pronounce dropout (audio)
: a person who drops out especially from a school or a training program

drop out

2 of 2 verb
: to withdraw from taking part or membership : quit
dropped out of school
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!