al·​ter·​a·​tion | \ ˌȯl-tə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce alteration (audio) \
plural alterations

Definition of alteration

1 : the act or process of altering something The dress needs alteration for a proper fit. : the state of being altered
2 : the result of changing or altering something: such as
a : a change made in fitting a garment no charge for alterations
b : a change in a legal instrument that alters its legal effect She made some alterations to her will.
c : a mineral that has been altered by a chemical process : metasomatism

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Examples of alteration in a Sentence

the alteration of the pattern They did a good job on the dress alteration. He made alterations in his will.
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Recent Examples on the Web Macy’s and Nordstrom are doing away with beauty consultations and alteration services, while the Gap is closing off bathrooms and fitting rooms. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, "How the pandemic is changing shopping," 21 May 2020 His thoughts need almost no alteration for modern times and are still excellent advice, perhaps especially for a world in quarantine (with the exception of precepts 6 and 7; see below). Verlyn Klinkenborg, The New York Review of Books, "An English Clergyman’s Advice For Quarantine," 14 May 2020 Then, the designers bring in the team from China to show off the final manufactured product as a 3D render to compare their work and suggest alterations. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "You Can Now Attend VR Meetings—No Headset Required," 13 May 2020 Some services that might remain temporarily unavailable include alterations, beauty makeovers, skincare treatments and specialized brow​, prosthesis and bra-fitting services, the company said. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Nordstrom to permanently close Chandler Fashion Center store over coronavirus disruptions," 7 May 2020 On the day of the Met Gala, stars are typically spending the first Monday in May getting glammed up and handling last-minute alterations for the annual fashion affair. Dave Quinn,, "Gabrielle Union Shares Never-Before-Seen Pic of Herself Shopping for Her Wedding Dress in 2014," 6 May 2020 At this point, the college football season appears on track for significant delay, shortening, alteration or perhaps cancellation altogether. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Can we really expect college football to start on time in the fall? Here's what national experts are saying," 5 May 2020 Ear-piercing, bra-fitting, and alteration services will be temporarily suspended. Sapna Maheshwari,, "Macy’s plans to reopen all of its 775 stores in 6 to 8 weeks," 30 Apr. 2020 Ear piercing, bra fittings and alterations will be temporarily suspended. New York Times, "Macy’s Plans to Reopen All of Its 775 Stores in 6 to 8 Weeks," 30 Apr. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alteration

Middle English alteracioun "change, transformation," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French alteracion, borrowed from Medieval Latin alterātiōn-, alterātiō, from Late Latin alterāre "to change, alter" + Latin -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Time Traveler for alteration

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for alteration

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alteration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for alteration


How to pronounce alteration (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alteration

: the act, process, or result of changing or altering something


al·​ter·​ation | \ ˌȯl-tə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce alteration (audio) \

Kids Definition of alteration

1 : the act or process of changing something She began alteration of the design.
2 : the result of changing : modification a minor alteration

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