This paper describes the fluoride removal potential of a novel sorbent, magnesia-amended activated alumina (MAAA) from drinking water. MAAA, prepared by calcining magnesium hydroxide impregnated alumina at 450 °C has shown high fluoride sorption potential than activated alumina from drinking water. Batch sorption studies were performed as a function of contact time, pH, initial fluoride concentration, and adsorbent dose. Studies were also performed to understand the effect of various other co-existing ions present in real ground water samples. X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDAX) and a gas adsorption porosimetry analyses were used to characterize the physicochemical properties of MAAA. More than 95% removal of fluoride (10 mg l-1) was achieved within 3 h of contact time at neutral pH. Sorption of fluoride onto MAAA was found to be pH dependant and a decrease in sorption was observed at higher pHs. Among the kinetic models tested, pseudo-second-order model fitted the kinetic data well, suggesting the chemisorption mechanism. Among the various isotherm model tested, Sips model predicted the data well. The maximum sorption capacity of fluoride deduced from Sips equation was 10.12 mg g-1. Most of the co-existing ions studied have negligible effect on fluoride sorption by MAAA. However, higher concentrations of bicarbonate and sulfate have reduced the fluoride sorption capacity. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.