alter

verb
al·​ter | \ ˈȯl-tər How to pronounce alter (audio) \
altered; altering\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce altering (audio) \

Definition of alter

transitive verb

1 : to make different without changing into something else an event that altered the course of history
2 : castrate, spay had the puppies altered

intransitive verb

: to become different customs that alter with the times

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Other Words from alter

alterability \ ˌȯl-​t(ə-​)rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce alterability (audio) \ noun
alterable \ ˈȯl-​t(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce alterable (audio) \ adjective
alterably \ -​blē How to pronounce alterably (audio) \ adverb
alterer \ -​tər-​ər How to pronounce alterer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for alter

change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another. changed the shirt for a larger size alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity. slightly altered the original design vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition. vary your daily routine modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose. modified the building for use by the disabled

Examples of alter in a Sentence

Alcohol can alter a person's mood. He altered his will to leave everything to his sister. This one small event altered the course of history. The place has altered in the 10 years since I left. I'll need to have the dress altered before the wedding.
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Recent Examples on the Web

If abused, your photos, videos and sensitive documents could reportedly be altered before the receiver sees the message. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Report: How hackers can alter your WhatsApp files before the receiver opens the message," 15 July 2019 IndieWire connects that disjointedness to how Arnold’s version of the project was altered in editing without her involvement. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How HBO and showrunner David E. Kelley reportedly undermined Big Little Lies director Andrea Arnold," 12 July 2019 As teenagers, they are partly formed by their pasts while still inventing themselves; each is altered by the other’s teasing, pushing and care. Carolyn Kellogg, latimes.com, "Colson Whitehead on the ‘incredible evil’ of the real school that inspired ‘Nickel Boys’," 12 July 2019 Unfortunately, band gaps can, themselves, be altered by exposure to energy in the form of heat or light. The Economist, "A team of chemists are searching for a new red pigment," 11 July 2019 Broidy has contended the emails were hacked from his account, and that several of the documents were altered or forged. Desmond Butler, BostonGlobe.com, "Federal grand jury probing GOP fund-raiser Elliott Broidy," 8 July 2019 Broidy has contended the emails were hacked from his account, and that several of the documents were altered or forged. CBS News, "Grand jury investigating top GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy for exploiting access to Trump," 8 July 2019 The lead investigator on the case testified that data had been altered on the phone. Bonney Kapp And Jean Casarez, CNN, "Kevin Spacey sex assault case could be dismissed because the accuser took the Fifth Amendment, judge says," 8 July 2019 At Friends for Life Animal Rescue, all animals are altered, vaccinated, microchipped, de-wormed, and cats are tested for FELV/FIV. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "A 'laid-back' cat and more up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 5 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alter.' 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 alter

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for alter

Middle English, from Medieval Latin alterare, from Latin alter other (of two); akin to Latin alius other — more at else

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Statistics for alter

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alter

The first known use of alter was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for alter

alter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alter

: to change (something)
: to make a change to (a piece of clothing) so that it will fit better
US : to remove the sex organs of (an animal) so that the animal is unable to reproduce

alter

verb
al·​ter | \ ˈȯl-tər How to pronounce alter (audio) \
altered; altering

Kids Definition of alter

: to change partly but not completely … each time he had altered his course.— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion
al·​ter | \ ˈȯl-tər\
altered; altering\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ \

Medical Definition of alter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

alter

noun

Medical Definition of alter (Entry 2 of 2)

: one of the distinct identities or personality states manifested in an individual with multiple personality disorder

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More from Merriam-Webster on alter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alter

Spanish Central: Translation of alter

Nglish: Translation of alter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alter

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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