View synonyms for alumnus


[ uh-luhm-nuhs ]


, plural a·lum·ni [uh, -, luhm, -nahy].
  1. a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university, especially a man:

    As an alumnus of this university myself, I am proud to dedicate its new building.

  2. a former associate, employee, member, or the like:

    He invited all the alumni of the library staff to the party.


/ əˈlʌmnəs /


  1. a graduate of a school, college, etc

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Gender Note

Alumnus (in Latin a masculine noun) usually refers to a male graduate or former student; the plural is alumni. An alumna (in Latin a feminine noun) refers to a female graduate or former student; the plural is alumnae. Traditionally, the masculine plural alumni has been used for mixed gender groups and is still widely so used: the alumni of Indiana University. Sometimes, to avoid any suggestion of sexism, both terms are used for mixed groups: the alumni/alumnae of Indiana University or the alumni and alumnae of Indiana University. Some people use the less formal abbreviation alum and its plural alums to avoid the complexities of the Latin forms and their unfamiliar gender inflection. Others use the terms graduate and graduates, though they are not quite equivalent in meaning, to eliminate the use of a masculine plural form to refer to all genders.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of alumnus1

First recorded in 1600–10; from Latin: “foster son, pupil,” equivalent to al- (stem of alere “to suckle, feed, support”) + -u- (from stem-vowel *-o- in interior syllable) + -m(i)nus, originally passive participial suffix, akin to Greek -menos; adult ( def ), alimony

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Word History and Origins

Origin of alumnus1

C17: from Latin: nursling, pupil, foster son, from alere to nourish

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Example Sentences

Frustration about the uncertain future also vexed some alumni.

Very few campuses had the resources to extend credit to students in the hopes that alumni would earn enough after graduation to pay back the cost of earning their degrees.

Those alumni all graduated on time from high school, most to study at a two- or four-year college, and others to join the military or begin trade work.

Thousands of law school alumni and students push for disbarment of Sens.

One of the important things that I would like to do as dean is to continue to engage alumni.

She says she met Cosby, a Temple alumnus and big-time donor to the university, in November 2002.

A former House Budget chairman and Fox News alumnus, Kasich was a libertarian leaning fiscal conservative before it was cool.

The best known was Brotherhood alumnus Sayyid Qutb, whom the Egyptian state executed in 1966.

The celebrated nanny college counts as its most famous (if fictional) alumnus Mary Poppins.

Hayes was very much a creature of the left, a proud alumnus of The Nation and In These Times.

Alumnus, al-um′nus, n. one educated at a college is called an alumnus of it:—pl.

It is a recollection blended of many feelings, that which the recurring Commencement brings to the alumnus.

The University, however, shares the attachment of the alumnus.

He didn't look like a Dumbarton Oaks product: I thought he was more likely an alumnus of some private detective agency.

Some high school alumnus in whose heart there is appreciation of Rome's gift to us might present a book to his Alma Mater.


Related Words

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Alumnus Vs. Alumni Vs. Alumna Vs. Alumnae Vs. Alum

What’s the difference between alumnus and alumni?

An alumnus is a graduate of a school, such as a high school or university. The plural of alumnus is alumni (which follows the plural ending construction used in other Latin-derived words, like stimulus and stimuli).

In Latin, alumnus specifically refers to a male graduate, and sometimes this distinction is carried into English, with alumna being used to refer to a female graduate. The plural of alumna is alumnae.

Still, alumnus and alumni are both commonly used in a gender-neutral way.

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 alumnus and alumni used correctly in the same sentence.

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

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

Quiz yourself on alumnus vs. alumni!

Should alumnus or alumni be used in the following sentence?

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

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