alternate

adjective
al·​ter·​nate | \ US and Canadian ˈȯl-tər-nət also ˈal- How to pronounce alternate (audio) ; 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- How to pronounce alternate (audio) \
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 | \ US and Canadian ˈȯl-tər-nət also ˈal- How to pronounce alternate (audio) ; chiefly British ȯl-ˈtər-\

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

Webinar materials are available in alternate languages upon request by contacting SANDAG at (619) 699-1900. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "On the agenda, July 7," 8 July 2019 The court found that Temple’s attorneys were denied access to approximately 1,400 pages of offense reports, including a detailed investigation into an alternate suspect, a teenage neighbor. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Retrial set for former Katy-area coach accused in wife’s killing," 8 July 2019 For the most part, fiction dominates the retro sci-fi show based on alternate dimensions and terrifying monsters. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Is Hawkins, Indiana, a real town and other burning questions about 'Stranger Things'," 8 July 2019 Once the nomination period closes, the release said, the Park Road Parade Committee will vote on both a grand marshal and an alternate grand marshal for the parade, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "West Hartford’s Park Road Parade searching for ‘unsung heroes’ for grand marshal," 7 July 2019 While overseas, he is reluctantly enlisted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to help take down threats from an alternate dimension. Rebecca Rubin, chicagotribune.com, "‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ debuts with heroic $185 million," 7 July 2019 An alternate policy should find a way to make sure teachers and students both feel safe and can address current issues in schools, such as substance use. Sonali Kohli, latimes.com, "When LAUSD’s random searches of students end, what’s next for school safety?," 6 July 2019 The unexpected Trump tweet left White House aides scrambling to communicate with the Commerce Department and the Justice Department for alternate options including an executive order to keep the fight going for the citizenship question. Fin Gomez, CBS News, "Trump considering executive action and other legal actions over citizenship question," 4 July 2019 But for many European nationalists, anti-migration politicians and opponents of gay rights, the real spiritual strongman of their movement is the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, their alternate pope. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "A Clash of Worldviews as Pope Francis and Putin Meet Again," 4 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

During the procedure, the device is strapped onto trouble areas, most often the stomach, love handles, and thighs, and alternates between intense heat, which is absorbed by the body's fatty tissue, and brief cooldowns. Kaitlin Clark, Allure, "5 New Body-Contouring Procedures Plastic Surgeons Can't Stop Talking About," 9 July 2019 The narrative alternates between the voice of Quin—a book editor who is accused of harassment by multiple women in his field—and his friend Margot, who tries to come to terms with, or understand, or somehow justify Quin’s behavior. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Mary Gaitskill on the Power of Fiction for Examining #MeToo," 8 July 2019 The hosts alternate between workplace gripes like radios that don’t work in remote areas and topics in the news. Elliot Spagat, The Denver Post, "Racist, sexually explicit Facebook posts put Border Patrol on defensive at rough time," 3 July 2019 Areola was regularly alternated with Gianluigi Buffon last year, and is unlikely to be eager to play second fiddle to Donnarumma in the upcoming season. SI.com, "6 Positions Milan Must Strengthen to Claim a Champions League Place Next Season," 30 June 2019 Since then, power has alternated between it and the AIADMK, another splinter. The Economist, "Why India’s south confounds the otherwise all-conquering Narendra Modi," 21 June 2019 Davidson alternated taking corner kicks with forward Christen Press on Sunday, notching two assists in the process. Ashley Scoby, Pro Soccer USA, "20-year-old Tierna Davidson makes World Cup debut, notches two assists," 16 June 2019 Throughout, Nickerson alternates and combines expository, informational passages with the lyrical language of a poet. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Look at the bird’: Ornithology and family history intertwine in ‘Blackbird Flying’," 15 June 2019 Since then, Meghan has alternated between hosiery and no hosiery, likely depending on her dress, the occasion, and, like all of us, her mood. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Go-To Tights Brand Just Released Colorful Bodysuits," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Twelve jurors and six alternates were ultimately selected. Sonia Moghe, CNN, "Federal prosecutors ask appeals court to uphold Tsarnaev conviction and death sentence," 27 June 2019 The clear second-place choice was the black and red alternates that are worn mainly during weekend games both at home and on the road. Richard Morin, azcentral, "The Arizona Diamondbacks have a lot of jerseys. Which is their favorite?," 23 Apr. 2018 Since 2012, their alternate has been a 1940s replica. Rich Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "Bears bringing back orange jerseys for 2018 season," 28 Mar. 2018 The jury, made up of eight men and four women, with four alternates, is expected to begin deliberations by Tuesday. Sonia Moghe, CNN, "Nxivm trial testimony ends with video of founder discussing child sex abuse," 14 June 2019 The show is so vocally demanding that Bautista has an alternate, Myra Molloy, who steps into the role, mostly on days when there are two performances. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "A New Englander immerses herself in the world of ‘Miss Saigon’," 12 June 2019 An alternate on the 2016 Olympic team, Mewis has played 32 games in the 2½ years since, six fewer than former UCLA teammate Abby Dahlkemper, who made her World Cup debut Tuesday as well. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "Women’s World Cup: Samantha Mewis has part in four of 13 goals for U.S.," 12 June 2019 The book’s tone alternates, sometimes within a single paragraph, between the citation-heavy pop psychology of a TED talk and the aw-shucks wisdom of a homily at a prosperous stone church in a D.C. suburb. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "David Brooks’s Moral Journey," 5 June 2019 Additionally, guide Ben Raines was on hand as an alternate. al.com, "Veterans’ group, coastal guides team on fishing trip," 11 June 2019

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

12 Jul 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.
chiefly US : 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)

US : 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 How to pronounce alternate (audio) \

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 How to pronounce alternate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce alternate (audio) \

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- How to pronounce alternate (audio) \

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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