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.

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 Tigers recalled him from the alternate training site in Toledo on April 15 when Mazara went to the injury list, but quickly sent Jimenez back to the minors. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers OF Nomar Mazara returns from injury; Victor Reyes sent to Triple-A," 8 May 2021 Saturday morning the Twins made another roster move, selecting right-handed pitcher Derek Law's contract from Triple-A St. Paul and optioning right-handed pitcher Cody Stashak to the alternate site. Megan Ryan, Star Tribune, "Trevor Larnach to make MLB debut against Detroit Tigers on Saturday," 8 May 2021 Taylor made his major-league debut in September 2019 and split his time in 2020 between the alternate training site and the Brewers (22 games) before again hopping on that carousel for the start of this season. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A multitude of experiences has taught the Brewers' Tyrone Taylor to focus on the here and now," 7 May 2021 Some pitchers, including Hall and Rodriguez, were able to participate at the team’s alternate training site in Bowie last year, a camp that hosted reserves for the major league team as well as a handful of prospects. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Return of minor league play creates excitement throughout Orioles organization: ‘It’s been a long time coming’," 5 May 2021 The Braves recalled infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. from their alternate training site after optioning right-hander Sean Jones there a day earlier. Ben Nuckols, ajc, "Two-way star: Braves' Ynoa hits slam, slams door on Nats," 5 May 2021 Over the weekend, Lovullo mentioned that right-hander Corbin Martin, who was not consistent during spring training, has remained hit-or-miss at the alternate site. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Rough outing for Luke Weaver, offense as Diamondbacks lose to Marlins," 5 May 2021 Allen was at the Stockton alternate site but with the minor-league season was set to open with Triple-A Las Vegas. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's place catcher Aramis Garcia on IL with stomach virus, call up Austin Allen," 4 May 2021 The Cubs returned Strop, who is not on the 40-man roster, to the alternate site once players were activated from the COVID-19 IL. Meghan Montemurro, chicagotribune.com, "Veteran reliever Pedro Strop taking personal leave from the Chicago Cubs," 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Honda Civic generations tend to alternate between revolution and evolution. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "2022 Honda Civic Sedan Features a Cleaner Look, Carryover Engines," 29 Apr. 2021 Players will alternate shots in the second and final rounds. Brett Martel, ajc, "Garnett-Stallings, Hovland-Ventura share Zurich Classic lead," 23 Apr. 2021 In addition, teams will alternate 2-point plays beginning with the third overtime period, rather than a series of four downs beginning at the 25-yard line. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "College football overtime rule changes approved for 2021," 22 Apr. 2021 Conferences will alternate the lopsided schedule by year; AFC teams will have nine home games in 2021 and NFC teams will have nine home games in 2022, and so on. Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "NFL approving 17th game means Vikings visit Chargers in 2021," 30 Mar. 2021 People who alternate cruelty with charm fuel hope that things will finally stay charming. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Just say no to gifts from relative’s abuser," 12 Apr. 2021 When wooing lovers, friends and colleagues, his strategy was to alternate between cruelty and abundant kindness. New York Times, "Philip Roth Was His Own Favorite Subject. What’s Left for a Biographer?," 30 Mar. 2021 The powerful lineup is so balanced that manager Dave Roberts can alternate right-handed and left-handed sluggers throughout the order most nights. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, "NL West preview: Dodgers and Padres not only are best in the West, but best in MLB," 26 Mar. 2021 And the Rock Hall seemed to realize it, scheduling the ceremony to alternate between New York and Cleveland starting in 2018. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "It’s time for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony to be in Cleveland every year | Opinion," 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Elena Hualde Zuniga, Kaleigh Telfer and Elina Sinz round out the team of five with Anna Foster as the alternate. Giana Han, al, "Weekly Auburn roundup: Baseball and softball each fall 2-1 in LSU series," 10 May 2021 Cejka, who made the field as the first alternate when Jay Haas withdrew, followed his opening 68 with a 69 at Greystone Golf & Country Club. BostonGlobe.com, "Gary Woodland among leading trio after second round at windy Wells Fargo; Phil Mickelson still in contention," 8 May 2021 Brown’s appeal focused on whether U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan was justified in replacing the juror — known as Juror 13 — with an alternate because of the statement about the Holy Spirit. orlandosentinel.com, "Ex-Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s conviction overturned," 6 May 2021 Geoff Elliott and Deborah Strang alternate in the role of the poet/storyteller. Los Angeles Times, "L.A.'s live stage is back this weekend: 24 picks for culture," 22 Apr. 2021 Vivian Chung of Del Norte High School was named the first alternate and received $4,000 and two other awards totaling $1,100 at the state finals. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, March 25," 25 Mar. 2021 After the 1984 season, Lott, Hicks, Williamson and Wright, who appeared as an alternate, all played in the Pro Bowl. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "Three great catches: Recalling the 49ers' historic defensive-back draft of 1981," 26 Apr. 2021 This juror was an alternate and was dismissed prior to deliberations. Eric Levenson And Aaron Cooper, CNN, "The jury has been selected for Derek Chauvin's trial. Here's what we know about them," 20 Apr. 2021 Still, at least bring back the former Dolphin logo – still used as an alternate – permanently. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL uniform power rankings 2021: List gets refresh as Cincinnati Bengals reveal updated look," 19 Apr. 2021

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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alternate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alternate. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on alternate

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