al·​ter·​ation | \ˌȯl-tə-ˈrā-shən \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

As a result, your cells are more likely to develop more genetic alterations that can eventually lead to cancer. Korin Miller, SELF, "Do You Always Get BRCA Testing When Diagnosed With Breast or Ovarian Cancer?," 30 Nov. 2018 Voters approved numerous alterations to election laws, rejected changes to gas taxes in three states, expanded Medicaid access in at least two, and delivered a mixed verdict on marijuana legalization. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "Voters Expand Medicaid, Weigh In on Gas Taxes in Ballot Measures," 7 Nov. 2018 Before this week’s alterations to the Full Self-Driving option, Tesla also pushed back the release of a different Autopilot feature. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla stopped promoting the ‘Full Self-Driving’ option for its cars," 20 Oct. 2018 That means all sorts of tiny shifts and alterations through the day, leaving scientists with the classic problem of trying to find signal through wide spreads of noise. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Earth's Magnetic Fields Could Give Lightspeed Warning of Incoming Earthquakes and Tsunamis," 15 Oct. 2018 This state of hypervigilance, often accompanied by alterations in cognition and emotion, makes healthy functioning a major challenge. Dylan Gee, Vox, "I study kids who were separated from their parents. The trauma could change their brains forever.," 20 June 2018 The council agreed to submit the ordinance, without alteration, to the voters, and to call an election in November. Laura Groch,, "How they voted, June 10," 10 June 2018 And some landscape alterations, including wildfires, can increase their likelihood or severity. Sean W. Fleming, WIRED, "Lessons from Montecito: Science's Credibility Is At Stake," 14 May 2018 Have a system for dirty laundry, dry cleaning, alterations, donations and sell. NBC News, "How to spruce up your home for spring ... on a budget," 19 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of alteration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alteration

see alter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alteration

Share alteration

Dictionary Entries near alteration








Statistics for alteration

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alteration

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alteration



English Language Learners Definition of alteration

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


al·​ter·​ation | \ˌȯl-tə-ˈrā-shən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on alteration

What made you want to look up alteration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!