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

Although less well known, Hamer’s speech underscores the power of public testimony, and exemplifies how ordinary men and women can alter the trajectory of American politics. Time Staff, Time, "15 Unsung Moments From American History That Historians Say You Should Know About," 28 June 2019 Taken together, the photos show how galactic appearance can alter when viewed through various wavelengths of light. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Here's the Whirlpool Galaxy in Four Stunning Photos," 27 June 2019 Lerer’s investment fund has not altered its stake in BuzzFeed, the people said. BostonGlobe.com, "State DPU approves contracts with Hydro-Quebec," 26 June 2019 But now, those grades have altered her future, the student says. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "GCU student claims she was recruited on a false promise, forced to alter career plan," 25 June 2019 Forrest Gump, which is observing its 25th anniversary (July 8) both with a return to theaters nationwide on the night of June 25 and with a remastered Blu-Ray edition, reminds us that the meaning of films alters with age. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Everyone Is Wrong about Forrest Gump," 25 June 2019 O’Quinn said the ordinance will likely be altered to limit its impact to certain areas of Birmingham, not the entire city. Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al.com, "Ordinance would stop licenses for new Birmingham self-storage for year," 25 June 2019 Since Bradforth’s death, Atkins-Ingram has seen her life altered in so many ways. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Collapse and Confusion: The Death of a Juco Football Player," 24 June 2019 The 'Peace Cross' stays The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the gigantic Latin cross on government land in Maryland does not have to be moved or altered in the name of church-state separation. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Retaliation against Iran? 'You'll soon find out'," 21 June 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

4 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

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