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

In the 18th century, Russian fur trading, missionaries and the introduction of Eurasian diseases greatly altered the Aleut way of life, and there were no longer permanent Aleut settlements on Adak when World War II broke out. Author: Paxson Woelber, Anchorage Daily News, "Trekking into the storm-battered, golden beauty of Adak Island," 17 June 2019 As professional sports morphed from the mom-and-pop types of operations in the 1960s to the billion-dollar businesses that exist today, Vacca altered his approach. Salim Valji, New York Times, "Suiting Up Hockey’s Stars, One Stitch At a Time," 10 June 2019 Manager Bruce Bochy altered the club’s rotation plans over the weekend so that Anderson would move ahead of Drew Pomeranz in the Giants rotation and face New York after all. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Rookie of the Year candidate has high praise for San Francisco Giants pitcher," 6 June 2019 One death forever altered the world of two local families. Ray Boyd, https://www.inquirer.com, "Overdose death changes two families forever; The future of Germantown High School | Morning Newsletter," 6 June 2019 Pitching rotation altered The Diamondbacks have Thursday off before heading out on a 10-game road trip that will consist of games in Toronto, Philadelphia and Washington. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Adam Jones held out of lineup with soreness, but long-term absence not anticipated," 5 June 2019 In a new study, energy drinks altered the electrical activity of participants’ hearts. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "Energy Drinks May Cause Heart Problems—Here’s How to Get a Natural Boost Instead," 4 June 2019 The team altered its uniforms before the 2017 season and hasn’t sported black since. Dave Southorn, idahostatesman, "Return of the black? Check out Boise State football’s color schemes for 2019 season," 4 June 2019 The agency also altered its assessment of PM2.5 in its rewriting of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. Niina H. Farah, Scientific American, "Planned Changes to EPA Pollution Analyses Align with Industry Requests," 31 May 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

20 Jun 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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