noun (plural alumni /-nī/ /-nē/)
When used in the singular, alumnus (which is a male form in Latin) generally refers to a male former student, with alumna being the corresponding female term, but the plural alumni can refer to both sexes (the plural form alumnae may be used when referring to two or more female former students). In the US, the shortened form alum is increasingly used in informal contexts to avoid gender-specific terminology altogether.
Mid 17th century: from Latin, 'nursling, pupil', from alere 'nourish'.
alma mater from mid 17th century:
This phrase, used with reference to a university or college once attended, first had the general sense ‘someone or something providing nourishment’; in Latin the literal meaning is ‘bounteous, nourishing mother’. It was a title given by the Romans to several goddesses but in particular to Ceres and Cybele, both representing fostering mother-figures. Alumnus (mid 17th century) is related, being Latin for ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’, source of alma.
Words that rhyme with alumnusrumness
For editors and proofreaders
Definition of alumnus in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.