al·​ter·​na·​tion | \ˌȯl-tər-ˈnā-shən also ˌal- \

Definition of alternation 

1a : the act or process of alternating or causing to alternate

b : alternating occurrence : succession

3 : the occurrence of different allomorphs or allophones

Examples of alternation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Miller thinks the brain is juggling the items being held in working memory one at a time, in alternation. Jordana Cepelewicz, WIRED, "When Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks Your Brain Out of Sync," 9 June 2018 Three shadows underwent slight alternations, including name changes. Devon Abelman, Allure, "7 Ways Huda Beauty's New Rose Gold Remastered Eye Palette Is Different From the Original," 25 May 2018 As Matt Stiles wrote from Seoul, the alternation between bellicose statements and peaceful ones is a classic North Korea ploy, which the ruling Kim dynasty has used for decades to keep its adversaries off balance. David Lauter,, "Robert Mueller, Kim Jong Un and the psychology of the president," 18 May 2018 There is one minor alternation to the original option many saw, with everyone on McDonough Street now zoned for F.AVE. Bill Banks, ajc, "Decatur board approves new boundaries for elementary schools," 26 Apr. 2018 The 80-some piece collection employs a breadth of handicrafts from Japanese boro, Spanish shearling intarsia (a method of color alternation), African patchwork from Togo and Senegal, and ribbon embroidery from India. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Jonathan Anderson Traveled the Globe to Create Loewe’s New Blankets," 17 Apr. 2018 Or is that an alternation permanently to the way you guys are incorporated? Meghann Farnsworth, Recode, "Full transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes," 7 Apr. 2018 The line might not have so strongly suggested our hero’s wandering eye without Schubert putting dilemma into sound with a quick alternation between major and minor. Peter Dobrin,, "Baritone Thomas Meglioranza and pianist Reiko Uchida in stunning Schubert song cycle," 19 Mar. 2018 Other conditions include screening of mechanical building components from public view and alternations to spacing and height, to preserve sight lines to and from the bridge. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "Group vows to keep fighting Hays Street project," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alternation.' 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 alternation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of alternation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for alternation


al·​ter·​na·​tion | \ˌȯl-tər-ˈnā-shən \

Kids Definition of alternation

: the act, process, or result of taking place by turns alternation of light and dark

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