One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A former pupil or student, especially a male one, of a particular school, college, or university.‘a Harvard alumnus’‘a mixture of news about the University and articles by alumni’
- 1.1 A former member of a group, company, or organization.‘a Royal Ballet alumnus’‘the Pop Idol alumnus revealed a hitherto hidden falsetto’
- 1.1 A former member of a group, company, or organization.
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 pupils or students of either sex. In the extended meaning ‘a former member of a group or organization’, alumnus may refer to either a man or a woman
Mid 17th century: from Latin, ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’.
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