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

The Chance is presenting an alternate version developed in 2015. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Review: A life told in tall tales; 'Big Fish' at the Chance Theater," 12 July 2018 The 60 songs in the set will include unreleased live and studio tracks and alternate versions. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Tom Petty Boxed Set of Unreleased Music Out in September," 10 July 2018 Tessa Thompson and Lakeith Stanfield star in Boots Riley’s directorial debut, set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland, where it was filmed over 28 days last summer. Boots Riley, HWD, "Sorry to Bother You Director Boots Riley Takes a Ride Through Oakland’s Changing Landscape," 2 July 2018 An alternate version of StemRad's belt—a larger vest-shaped, custom-fit model called the AstroRad—will go up on an upcoming Orion spacecraft launch for testing in partnership with the German Aerospace Center. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Belt That Protects Against Gamma Radiation," 27 June 2018 The fact that these shows are playing on the TV set in the Parr household further confirms that this world is an alternate version of the ‘60s where superheroes and hover monorails exist. Josh Weiss, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Incredibles 2' TV References Are More Than Easter Eggs," 17 June 2018 So why, then, is her life on replay, where alternate versions of her and Con, now a familiar stranger, keep being drawn to each other? Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Miss Subways,’ by David Duchovny," 31 May 2018 Cavs-Celtics is getting good now, but there are alternate versions of this series that would be iconic. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "Waiting on Answers to All the Best Kyrie Irving Questions," 23 May 2018 In 1960, when a line dance, The Madison, was popular in Baltimore, Mr. Gale recorded two alternate versions. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Jack Gale, talent manager and radio host on Baltimore's old WITH-AM, dies," 27 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrate Christmas with her family every other year, alternating between that the annual royal celebrations in Sandringham. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "How the Royal Family Decorates Buckingham Palace for Christmas," 5 Dec. 2018 Each senator gets five minutes to talk, alternating between Democrats and Republicans. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Christine Blasey Ford hearing isn’t about finding the truth. It’s just a cross-examination.," 27 Sep. 2018 Ocasio-Cortez, whose upset victory made her an instant political star, has spent the days since then alternating between media interviews and endorsements of like-minded candidates. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorses more Democratic insurgents, and it’s paying off quite nicely," 2 July 2018 Continue this movement, alternating legs, for 30 seconds. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All You Need Is a Pair of Socks to Do This 15-Minute Total-Body Workout From Carrie Underwood’s Trainer," 13 Dec. 2018 Each senator on the committee will then be afforded a single five-minute round of questions, with the opportunity to ask questions alternating between Democrats and Republicans. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Kavanaugh, Ford face the hot seat in Supreme battle; Kavanaugh a victim of mistaken identity?," 28 Sep. 2018 Continue alternating legs for 20 total repetitions. Philly.com, "4 mobility exercises to start every workout," 19 June 2018 The penalty kicks are a best of five shootout, alternating between the team two teams. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "How Does Extra Time Work at the World Cup?," 12 June 2018 Hiura alternated between second base and DH after the first week of May, and ultimately logged 15 games at second for the Mudcats. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers promote top prospect Keston Hiura to Class AA Biloxi," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Consider alternate airports The big airports aren't usually the only airports in town; think about the alternates. Eric Jordan, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed," 20 Nov. 2018 Bears’ orange The Bears are bringing back the orange alternates for the 2018 season, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Every NFL team's best alternate uniform, ranked," 3 July 2018 The alternate is a bit of surprise — Ray Robson, who has been fairly inactive. Chris Chase, BostonGlobe.com, "Chess notes," 30 June 2018 The alternates include members widely considered to be assets to the board, including Robert Lauby, chief safety officer at the Federal Railroad Administration. Martine Powers, Washington Post, "Pushed by Virginia lawmakers, Metro board agrees to internal restructuring," 28 June 2018 The alternate is no less unappealing: flowered cancer root. New York Times, "The Flower That Must Not Be Named," 13 June 2018 The four alternates added were PGA Tour competitors Scott Piercy and Ted Potter Jr., in addition to Rikuyo Hoshino from the Japan PGA Tour and Ryan Evans, who played last year on the European Challenge Tour. Joe Juliano, Philly.com, "Traffic headaches could affect some at U.S. Open; players still iffy on new playoff format," 12 June 2018 The most likely alternate is a boat trip along the Pacific coast. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New Evidence Shows That Humans Could Have Migrated to the Americas Along the Coast," 8 June 2018 Senior David Perez and junior Scott Thygesen are the first alternates for the doubles championship. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (May 12): Baltimore courses hosting celebration," 12 May 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, Verb, and Noun

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

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Statistics for alternate

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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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