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alumna

[ uh-luhm-nuh ]
/ əˈlʌm nə /
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See synonyms for: alumna / alumnae on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural a·lum·nae [uh-luhm-nee]. /əˈlʌm ni/.
a woman who is a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.
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Origin of alumna

An Americanism dating back to 1840–45; from Latin: literally, “foster daughter, pupil”; feminine of alumnus

usage note for alumna

What's the difference between alumna, alumnus, and alum? See alumnus.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH alumna

alum, alumna , alumnae , alumni, alumnus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

ALUMNA VS. ALUMNAE VS. ALUMNUS VS. ALUMNI VS. ALUM

What’s the difference between alumna, alumnus, and alumni?

An alumna is a female graduate of a school, such as a high school or university.

In Latin, alumnus specifically refers to a male graduate, and sometimes this distinction is carried into English. However, alumnus is also commonly used in a gender-neutral way, as is its plural, alumni.

What is the plural of alumna?

The plural of alumna is alumnae. This follows the plural ending construction used in other Latin-derived words, like antenna and antennae.

The informal shortening alum is used to refer to a single graduate (regardless of gender). It’s sometimes pluralized as alums.

Here’s an example of alumna and alumnae used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: As an alumna, you share something with all of the alumnae, regardless of when each of you graduated. 

Want to learn more? Read the breakdown of the difference between alumnus and alumni.

Quiz yourself on alumna vs. alumnae!

Should alumna or alumnae be used in the following sentence?

The five-year reunion is usually well attended by _____.

How to use alumna in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alumna

alumna
/ (əˈlʌmnə) /

noun plural -nae (-niː)
mainly US and Canadian a female graduate of a school, college, etc

Word Origin for alumna

C19: feminine of alumnus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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