n. pl. a·lum·ni(-nī′)
A male graduate or former student of a school, college, or university.
[Latin, pupil, from alere, to nourish; see al-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Alumnus and alumna both come from Latin and preserve Latin plurals. Alumnus is a masculine noun whose plural is alumni, and alumna is a feminine noun whose plural is alumnae. Coeducational institutions sometimes use alumni for graduates regardless of sex. But those who object to masculine forms in such cases may prefer using alumni and alumnae, alumnae/i, or the more casual alums. The word graduates also presents a gender-neutral alternative.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.