alpha

noun
al·​pha | \ ˈal-fə How to pronounce alpha (audio) \

Definition of alpha

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the 1st letter of the Greek alphabet — see Alphabet Table
2 : something that is first : beginning
5 : the first version of a product (such as a computer program) that is being developed and tested usually used before another noun alpha versionsalpha testing also : a stage of product development in which alpha prototypes are released a product that is available in alpha — compare beta

alpha

adjective

Definition of alpha (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : closest in the structure of an organic molecule to a particular group or atom symbol α α-substitution
2 : socially dominant especially in a group of animals an alpha male

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Examples of alpha in a Sentence

Noun money is not the alpha and omega—the beginning and end—of life's purpose
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some asset managers are now reaping up to 300 basis points (bps) of alpha through the use of a full, comprehensive range of AI solutions, according to Accenture ACN +1.9% research. Michael Spellacy, Forbes, "Go Big Or Go Home: Asset & Wealth Managers Need To Seize The Day On AI," 11 Mar. 2021 First of all, says King, stick to gentle products that support the skin barrier function, and avoid things like harsh detergents, alcohol, retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and benzoyl peroxide until the redness is resolved. April Long, Town & Country, "How to Get Rid of Redness on the Face," 1 Mar. 2021 Brainwave patterns showed positive levels of frontal alpha asymmetry for participants that had meditation breaks, which correlates to higher engagement during the meeting. Bruce Rogers, Forbes, "Our Brains Need Breaks From Virtual Meetings," 20 Apr. 2021 At the same time, the amino acid also increases the production of alpha waves in the brain, helping to promote relaxation and improve stress levels. Ola Faleti, chicagotribune.com, "Is matcha good for you?," 17 Apr. 2021 In this exclusive first look at the Teen Mom OG season 9 reunion, airing April 20 at 8 p.m., the tensions between two loving fathers-slash-alpha males — in this case, Larry Edwards and Taylor McKinney — boil over in an acrimonious exchange. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "Teen Mom OG reunion first look: It's Taylor vs. Larry!," 16 Apr. 2021 An alpha seal, the film reports, can weigh more than a pickup truck. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Secrets of the Whales’ Review: Dispatches From the Deep," 15 Apr. 2021 Oregon was sorely lacking that this season and also didn’t have any alpha personalities in the locker room, which Graves readily admitted was a deficiency during the season. oregonlive, "‘I like what I have’: Kelly Graves preparing for Oregon women’s basketball to have fewer players in 2021-22," 15 Apr. 2021 There’s more interest in alpha coronaviruses because two cause colds in humans. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Vaccines that can protect against many coronaviruses could prevent another pandemic," 15 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The names of the Cadillac electric vehicles will be words not alpha-numeric, Reuss said. cleveland, "Here are GM’s plans to make the GMC Hummer pickup a top seller," 15 Feb. 2020 The names of the Cadillac electric vehicles will be words not alpha-numeric, Reuss said. cleveland, "Here are GM’s plans to make the GMC Hummer pickup a top seller," 15 Feb. 2020 By observing how well the Lyman-alpha light from these galaxies gets through, astronomers will measure how efficiently the first stars were able to transform the universe. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Young galaxies transformed the early universe by blowing bubbles," 10 Jan. 2020 Definitely not the style of my alpha husband, who would enter purposefully with supplies or advice: That’s not the right tool. Amy Doyle, New York Times, "The Gift of Silence, When There Are No Words," 13 Mar. 2020 The names of the Cadillac electric vehicles will be words not alpha-numeric, Reuss said. cleveland, "Here are GM’s plans to make the GMC Hummer pickup a top seller," 15 Feb. 2020 The names of the Cadillac electric vehicles will be words not alpha-numeric, Reuss said. cleveland, "Here are GM’s plans to make the GMC Hummer pickup a top seller," 15 Feb. 2020 The names of the Cadillac electric vehicles will be words not alpha-numeric, Reuss said. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Here are GM's plans to make the GMC Hummer pickup a top seller," 5 Feb. 2020 Bryant and O’Neal had an inevitable falling-out: not even L.A.’s sprawl could contain those two alpha egos. Sean Gregory, Time, "'He Was Going to Do Great Things.' Why Many Believed the Best Was Ahead of Kobe Bryant," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alpha.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alpha

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alpha

Noun

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew āleph aleph

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Time Traveler for alpha

Time Traveler

The first known use of alpha was in the 13th century

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Statistics for alpha

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alpha.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alpha. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for alpha

alpha

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alpha

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the first letter of the Greek alphabet
: the first version of a product (such as a computer program) that is being developed and tested

alpha

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alpha (Entry 2 of 2)

: having the most power in a group of animals or people

alpha

noun
al·​pha | \ ˈal-fə How to pronounce alpha (audio) \

Medical Definition of alpha

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the 1st letter of the Greek alphabet symbol Α or α

alpha

adjective
variants: or α-

Medical Definition of alpha (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to one of two or more closely related chemical substances the alpha chain of hemoglobin α-yohimbine used somewhat arbitrarily to specify ordinal relationship or a particular physical form, especially one that is allotropic, isomeric, stereoisomeric, or sometimes polymeric (as in α-D-glucose)
2 : closest in position in the structure of an organic molecule to a particular group or atom also : occurring at or having a structure characterized by such a position α-substitution

More from Merriam-Webster on alpha

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alpha

Britannica English: Translation of alpha for Arabic Speakers

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