alternate

adjective
al·​ter·​nate | \ US and Canadian ˈȯl-tər-nət How to pronounce alternate (audio) 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 How to pronounce alternate (audio) 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 | \ US and Canadian ˈȯl-tər-nət How to pronounce alternate (audio) also ˈal-; 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 Some of those responding to Adams' Broadway Joe tweet suggested alternate nicknames for Burrow, including Bayou Joe and Bourbon Street Jeaux. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Jets safety from LSU learns his ‘Broadway Joe’ lesson," 12 Nov. 2019 China has been the primary source of the medicine, and the crisis there highlights a need to develop alternate supplies. Jason Gale | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Deadly Pig Disease Sparks Fear of a Heart Drug Shortage," 11 Nov. 2019 Before the practice, Rangers announced alternate captain Marc Staal had surgery for an infection in his ankle and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. ... New York scratched forward Micheal Haley for the second straight game. sun-sentinel.com, "Panthers win barn burner against Rangers, lose Weegar on puck to face," 10 Nov. 2019 Frog,’’ which included alternate accounts of the death of Tetch’s brother and the way his parents first met, and a dreamlike scene in which his family is transported to the Auschwitz death camp. BostonGlobe.com, "Stephen Dixon, prolific writer of experimental, unsettling fiction, dies at 83 - The Boston Globe," 8 Nov. 2019 Small projects, reforestation incentives, tactical mitigations, borehole wells, alternate sources of income, patience, sympathy. David Quammen, National Geographic, "‘I am scared all the time’: Chimps and people are clashing in rural Uganda," 8 Nov. 2019 During this time, the vehicle would verify the nature of the hazard and calculate an alternate path or allow the operator to take over. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Uber engineers didn't account for jaywalking pedestrians, new federal report on fatal crash says," 6 Nov. 2019 AWARDS Horan also dropped an 'alternate video' for the single. Gab Ginsberg, Billboard, "Niall Horan Rocks Out For 'Nice to Meet Ya' Performance at 2019 MTV EMAs: Watch," 3 Nov. 2019 In the end, there were no major changes, and no personnel announcements other than the automatic promotion of two new alternate members to the Central Committee. Ben Westcott, CNN, "China's top political body met in secret and issued an ominous message to Hong Kong," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chile had been a model of stability in the region for decades, with a solid economy and political parties of the center-left and the right alternating power through peaceful elections. Pascale Bonnefoy, New York Times, "Chile Unrest Spreads, With 15 Deaths Reported in Violence," 20 Oct. 2019 Robson alternates these with chapters on Heather, who discovers beautiful embroideries among her late grandmother’s possessions in 2016, as well as a photo of her nan with a famous artist and Holocaust survivor, and tries to trace their origin. Washington Post, "Attention ‘The Crown’ fanatics: Your royal education continues with these recent books," 11 Nov. 2019 Freddie would dance and scream while the band members alternated kicking the right leg and then the left. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: The Case of Mama Hen and the Mongrel Chicks — or: What Would Jesus Say?," 10 Nov. 2019 The open sessions will not look like traditional congressional hearings, where Democratic and Republican lawmakers alternate asking questions in five-minute blocks and witnesses can easily steer clear of thorny issues. BostonGlobe.com, "“I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelenskiy to say out loud he’s going to investigate Burisma and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that, was Mr. Giuliani,” Taylor said, according to the transcript.," 7 Nov. 2019 The treats are coated in vanilla icing and festive sprinkles, and then filled with alternating layers of red and green vanilla cake. Morgan Raum, PEOPLE.com, "IHOP Has an Entire Elf on the Shelf-Themed Holiday Menu This Year," 4 Nov. 2019 The contest marked the first time this season the Blue Devils had consecutive wins after alternating victories and losses the previous nine games. Al.com Reports, al, "Huntsville Week 11 roundup: Falkville, Randolph, Guntersville earn wins," 2 Nov. 2019 The lawsuit notes Arizona law already requires that candidates' names are alternated in primary elections so that no one candidate is listed first on each ballot. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Democrats rarely get listed first on Arizona ballots. Now they're suing to change that," 1 Nov. 2019 Kenny Golladay has six touchdown catches and is the Lions’ top deep threat, and Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola have alternated big games. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders: Dave Birkett's scouting report, prediction," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Seven women and five men were seated as jurors with two women and two men as alternates. Oct. 28 — Jury selection begins in Teller County District Court where 1,750 residents were called as potential jurors. Noelle Phillips, The Denver Post, "Kelsey Berreth murder case: Updates from Patrick Frazee’s trial in Colorado," 1 Nov. 2019 Consider using Metro Center, Gallery Place or Union Station as alternates, all of which are less than a 10-minute walk from the parade route. Washington Post, "Nats’ World Series parade: Here’s what you need to know," 1 Nov. 2019 Skinner was an alternate on the U.S. women's team at at 2015 Worlds, 2016 Olympics and 2019 Worlds. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner to cap 2019 with wedding," 24 Oct. 2019 As alternates, drivers can use Hallandale Beach Boulevard to the north of the Lehman Causeway or Northeast 163rd Street to the south. Doug Phillips, sun-sentinel.com, "Sewer main break closes major South Florida causeway," 13 Sep. 2019 Thursday, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer named Logan Couture as Pavelski’s successor as the team’s captain, with Hertl, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns serving as alternates. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "San Jose Sharks begin new era without a franchise icon," 13 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, Harris and Warren voters rank the two candidates as top alternates. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Bernie Sanders has an Elizabeth Warren problem at tonight’s debate," 30 July 2019 The Niners are ditching their all-black uniforms (for now) and going back to their 1994 white throwbacks as their alternates for this upcoming season. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Four More NFL Teams That Should Turn to Throwback Unis," 25 May 2018 Both sides soon hope to seat a jury of 12, plus alternates, with opening statements in the trial likely later this week or next. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Race becomes an issue in jury selection for ex-NFL star Kellen Winslow II," 29 Oct. 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

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

Verb

borrowed from Latin alternātus, past participle of alternāre "to ebb and flow, act in alternation, arrange in alternating order" — more at alternate entry 1

Noun

derivative of alternate entry 1

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Time Traveler for alternate

Time Traveler

The first known use of alternate was circa 1535

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Statistics for alternate

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Alternate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alternated. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for alternate

alternate

adjective
How to pronounce alternate (audio)

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
How to pronounce alternate (audio)

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
How to pronounce alternate (audio)

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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