alternate

adjective
al·ter·nate | \ US and Canadian ˈȯl-tər-nət also ˈal-; chiefly British ȯl-ˈtər-\

Definition of alternate 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : occurring or succeeding by turns a day of alternate sunshine and rain

2a : arranged first on one side and then on the other at different levels or points along an axial line a plant with alternate leaves — compare opposite entry 1

b : arranged one above or alongside the other alternate layers of brick and stone

3 : every other : every second He works on alternate days.

4 : constituting an alternative took the alternate route home

5 : alternative sense 2 did not approve of their son's alternate lifestyle

alternate

verb
al·ter·nate | \ˈȯl-tər-ˌnāt also ˈal- \
alternated; alternating

Definition of alternate (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to perform by turns or in succession alternated comedies and dramas

2 : to cause to alternate

intransitive verb

: to change from one to another repeatedly Rain alternated with sun.

alternate

noun
al·ter·nate | \ same as 1alternate \

Definition of alternate (Entry 3 of 3)

2 : one that substitutes for or alternates with another They chose twelve jurors and two alternates.

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Other Words from alternate

Adjective

alternately adverb

Examples of alternate in a Sentence

Adjective

Alternate shades of wood formed a pattern around the window. We took an alternate route because of the traffic. Due to an emergency, the plane landed at an alternate airport.

Verb

The poem alternates fear and hope. The light and dark woods alternate to form an elegant pattern around the window.

Noun

The town has elected five councilors and two alternates.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Reading books can sometime be the best method to escape to an alternate reality. Jessica Suriano, azcentral, "Phoenix monsoon storms: Best things to do when the power goes out," 10 July 2018 Users will be able to search for alternate words by right clicking them and using Bing. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Microsoft Is Finally Updating the Windows Notepad App," 12 July 2018 The absurdist parable set is in a dystopian alternate timeline and world that look and feel very much like ours, but slightly off. Katie Walsh, kansascity, "‘Sorry to Bother You’ skewers corporate and cultural corruption," 12 July 2018 But those alternate straws are often inadequate for disabled people, who need safe, sturdy, flexible straws. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Critics of Starbucks’ Straw Ban Are Missing the Point," 12 July 2018 Workers will direct alternate directions of traffic through the single open lane when safe to do so. Ramona Sentinel, "Caltrans begins $11M repairs on Route 78," 11 July 2018 Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo told the six jurors and two alternate jurors selected late Monday afternoon to expect the trial to conclude on or before Thursday. Marc Freeman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Trial to open for deputy accused of sexual battery attempt," 10 July 2018 The board soon will accept applications for a nonvoting student representative and an alternate student representative. Philly.com, "The new Philly school board convenes next month. What do people want members to know?," 25 June 2018 The field dimensions of Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville City's normal home venue, don't meet U.S. Open Cup specifications, forcing the club to search out alternate arenas in order to host matches for the national tournament. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "LouCity is winning at Lynn Stadium - so why didn't this happen sooner?," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The annual convention alternates between Northern and Southern California each year. Richard Chang, latimes.com, "Musicians, music educators and students to converge in Garden Grove," 21 June 2018 Each Grand Slam could alternate between a men's Sunday singles final and a women's Sunday singles final, with the corresponding adjustments in the tournament schedule. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Grass Court Season, Equal Pay and the Fed-Rafa Documentary," 20 June 2018 The teams alternated wins for the next four games, setting up a decisive Game 7 in Seattle. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "NBA superteams haven't won all the championships: 5 surprise winners," 9 July 2018 There will be alternating traffic with flaggers controlling traffic. Landscaping work affects Clint Moore Road Irrigation and landscaping work is taking place Clint Moore Road from Florida’s Turnpike to Jog Road. Kari Barnett, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Bridge replacement affects Sandalfoot Boulevard in West Boca," 6 July 2018 The team alternated wins and losses much of the season before closing out winning four of the Blue Raiders’ final five games, including a Camelia Bowl victory over Arkansas State. Iliana Limón Romero, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Experienced Middle Tennessee is No. 56 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 2 July 2018 The tale is informed by Jura’s love for music, and Golabek — an acclaimed concert pianist — alternates the telling of her mother’s story with grand-piano performances of works by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and Grieg. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "'Pianist of Willesden Lane' Gives Encore At Hartford Stage," 28 June 2018 Its chapters alternate between a biography by Kristine McKenna and a memoir by Mr Lynch. The Economist, "David Lynch’s memoir illuminates the origins of his art," 14 June 2018 San Francisco alternates its supervisorial elections by odd and even districts. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lots of new faces in November SF Board of Supervisors races," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The committee is comprised of more than 100 senior party members and a roughly equivalent number of alternates whose task is to make sure that party policies are understood and implemented throughout the country. Eric Talmadge, Fox News, "Ahead of Trump summit, Kim Jong Un crafts a careful message," 17 May 2018 Their role is different from a trial jury, which is usually made up of six or 12 jurors and a couple of alternates to hear evidence and decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty. Paula Mcmahon, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Nikolas Cruz's school shooting case goes to grand jury next week," 1 Mar. 2018 Scott Piercy, who barely made the field as an alternate, took the early clubhouse lead by firing a 69 Thursday morning. USA TODAY, "Tiger Tracker: Tiger Woods' Thursday round at the U.S. Open shot-by-shot," 14 June 2018 In the alternate, blue/red culture retail war, check out Walmart’s Pride section online. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "At Target and Walmart, Pride is profitable. The Supreme Court ought to drop by.," 7 June 2018 Motorists can use Riverside Avenue or South Street as alternates, said Lt. Don Stacom, Courant Community, "Bristol Marks Memorial Day With Two Parades," 24 May 2018 Tongues were, appropriately, in cheek, of course: Attempts by others to detour the hashtag—or create alternates like #SecondCivilWarLetter or #SecondCivalWarLetters—were soon equally overrun by those unwilling to drop the joke. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: Man, Twitter Loves a Good Civil War Meme, Huh?," 8 July 2018 Once there, the scenes alternate between encounters that unfold against a flat with a 3D view of the island, and the interior of Donny's scruffy farmhouse. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018 Plane spotters attending the show, which by entente cordiale alternates annually with that in Paris, will be hoping for an appearance by one of the F-35 Lightning fighters delivered recently to Britain’s air force and navy. The Economist, "Tomorrow’s squadron leaders will be accompanied by drones," 5 July 2018

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

Adjective

circa 1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1605, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1717, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alternate

Adjective

Latin alternatus, past participle of alternare, from alternus alternate, from alter other

Verb

see alternate entry 1

Noun

see alternate entry 1

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Statistics for alternate

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alternate

The first known use of alternate was circa 1535

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More Definitions for alternate

alternate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alternate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: occurring in or forming a repeated series

—used to describe something that happens one time, does not happen the next time, happens again, etc.

: other than the usual

alternate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alternate (Entry 2 of 3)

: to place or do (different things) so that one follows the other in a repeated series

alternate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alternate (Entry 3 of 3)

: someone who is chosen to take another person's place if that person is not able to be present or to do a required job

alternate

adjective
al·ter·nate | \ˈȯl-tər-nət \

Kids Definition of alternate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : occurring or following by turns alternate sunshine and rain

2 : arranged one above, beside, or next to another alternate layers of cake and filling

3 : every other : every second We meet on alternate days.

Other Words from alternate

alternately adverb

alternate

verb
al·ter·nate | \ˈȯl-tər-ˌnāt \
alternated; alternating

Kids Definition of alternate (Entry 2 of 3)

: to take place or cause to take place by turns She alternated between running and lifting weights.

alternate

noun
al·ter·nate | \ˈȯl-tər-nət \

Kids Definition of alternate (Entry 3 of 3)

: a person named to take the place of another whenever necessary They were chosen as alternates to attend the convention.

alternate

adjective
al·ter·nate | \ˈȯl-tər-nət, ˈal- \

Legal Definition of alternate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : occurring or succeeding by turns

2 : being an alternative alternate juror

alternate

noun

Legal Definition of alternate (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : one that substitutes for another twelve jurors and three alternates

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Comments on alternate

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