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

An alternate captain for the Providence College men’s hockey team last season, North Andover’s Brian Pinho is the team’s captain this year. Allen Lessels, BostonGlobe.com, "Providence’s Pinho enjoying the ride," 16 Mar. 2018 What’s hard for fans, and probably teammates, too, is figuring out how the Sharks can continue to be successful without their alternate captain. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks unlikely to make big trade to fill hole at center," 26 Jan. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the song went on, Ariana and her dancers alternated between slowly dancing and crawling across the set in perfect synchronization, and remaining motionless while draped across the table and stage. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's VMAs 2018 Performance of "God is a Woman" Was a Religious Experience," 21 Aug. 2018 My plan was to walk three minutes, run two minutes, alternating through the race and adjusting my plan if needed. Amy Rushlow, SELF, "Running Changed My Life When I Was a Teen—and Now It’s Helping Me Find Myself Again," 26 July 2018 The soundtrack is flawless, alternating from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to ABBA and Billy Joel. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "Inside the Secret Brunch Party Where Billionaires Let Loose," 9 Feb. 2018 The meter measures voltage and amperage (current) in alternating-current and direct-current modes. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Best New Tool: Klein Tools' Do-It-All Electrical Clamp Meter," 8 Jan. 2016 Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating it with the applesauce and ending with the dry ingredients. Country Living, "Stacked Applesauce Cake," 13 July 2012 How else could area fans feel after this week’s revelation that Boston will no longer hold a yearly stop on the golf calendar, alternating instead with the New York/New Jersey area to host The Northern Trust tournament? Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "New PGA Tour format is good for golf, but at Boston’s expense," 10 July 2018 Class offered every other Sunday, alternating with Restoration & Resonance. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Fun and free things to do this weekend in Cincinnati," 5 July 2018 Prominently displayed in lights near the top is the logo of its owner, Korean Air, which alternates with the InterContinental logo. Roger Vincent, latimes.com, "Engineering firm Arup signs $57-million deal to leave Playa Vista for downtown's Wilshire Grand," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the clip, the wannabe celebs alternate between belting their hearts out, butting heads over their competing egos, and casually dropping the types of emotional truth bombs that seem to characterize every single reality show about following dreams. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Netflix Releases Trailer for Reality Series Westside," 11 Oct. 2018 The ships alternate between Caribbean and Mediterranean itineraries, calling at popular (and amenable) ports including Barcelona, Mallorca, Nassau, and San Juan. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cruise Lines in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Scott Piercy was an alternate after sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open but is now tied for the lead with Ian Poulter after his opening round 1-under-par 69 early Thursday. USA TODAY, "Scott Piercy, a surprising early clubhouse leader at the U.S. Open, barely made the field," 14 June 2018 The quartet beat its seeded mark of 1:30.22 and is the first alternate for the consolation finals Saturday at 5 p.m. Staff Reports, latimes.com, "Sports Roundup: Flintridge Prep girls' swimming enjoys big day," 11 May 2018 The book alternates between Lauren’s and David’s perspectives and is both a memoir and a guide to activism. Emily Weinberg, latimes.com, "A new generation's revolution: A teen reviews '#NeverAgain' book by Parkland survivors David and Lauren Hogg," 4 July 2018 Drivers can use Riverside Parkway as an alternate to I-20, the Traffic Center suggested. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "BREAKING: 3 tractor-trailers collide, jam traffic before I-20 in Douglas County," 12 July 2018 As an alternate, Pursinger is allowed to work out during batting practice but can only play in the game if either starter Griffin Doersching (Hamilton Joes/Northern Kentucky University) or reserve Blake Holub (Southern Ohio Copperheads/St. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Six Cincinnati Steam players recognized as All-Stars," 11 July 2018 As part of the team’s preparation over the past year, 29-year-old stoker Mark Woodard of Vista has been training with the group as an alternate. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Blind cycling team to ride across country," 16 June 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

15 Nov 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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