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[uh-luhm-nuh s] /əˈlʌm nəs/
noun, plural alumni
[uh-luhm-nahy, -nee] /əˈlʌm naɪ, -ni/ (Show IPA)
a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.
a former associate, employee, member, or the like:
He invited all the alumni of the library staff to the party.
Origin of alumnus
1635-45; < Latin: foster son, pupil, equivalent to al- (stem of alere to feed, support) + -u- (< stem-vowel *-o- in interior syllable) + -m(i)nus, orig. passive participial suffix (cf. adult, old), akin to Greek -menos; see phenomenon
Can be confused
alum, alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus (see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
Alumnus (in Latin a masculine noun) 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 groups composed of both sexes 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. While not quite equivalent in meaning, the terms graduate and graduates avoid the complexities of the Latin forms and eliminate any need for using a masculine plural form to refer to both sexes. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alumni
  • The massive recruiting of athletes goes on apace at many colleges, sparked as always by victory-hungry alumni.
  • Some of our retired alumni who live in the area stop by my office and we talk.
  • Many college alumni wear their love for their alma maters on their sleeves, if not their sweatshirts.
  • Many schools strive to have an annual event that rallies the students, draws alumni and instills school spirit.
  • It survives in memory and online, thanks to thousands of nostalgic alumni.
  • Spending changes have no impact on win-loss records, alumni donations or incoming students' academic standing.
  • The downturn in print publications has also hit magazines for alumni.
  • Dedicated alumni trustees support the University's efforts to reach out to its alumni.
  • He located a list of football alumni and reached out to them for help.
  • She is easily the most famous of the band's alumni, having broken out as a solo artist last year.
British Dictionary definitions for alumni


noun (pl) -ni (-naɪ)
(mainly US & Canadian) a graduate of a school, college, etc
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: nursling, pupil, foster son, from alere to nourish
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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Word Origin and History for alumni

see alumnus.



1640s, from Latin alumnus "a pupil," literally "foster son," vestigial present passive participle of alere "to nourish" (see old), with ending akin to Greek -omenos. Plural is alumni. Fem. is alumna (1882), fem. plural alumnae.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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