alternative

adjective
al·​ter·​na·​tive | \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv How to pronounce alternative (audio) , al-\

Definition of alternative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : offering or expressing a choice several alternative plans
2 : different from the usual or conventional: such as
a : existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system an alternative newspaper alternative lifestyles
b : of, relating to, or being rock music that is regarded as an alternative to conventional rock and is typically influenced by punk rock, hard rock, hip-hop, or folk music an alternative band also : of, relating to, or being music of a genre other than rock that is similarly regarded as an alternative to the conventional music of that genre alternative country
c : of or relating to alternative medicine alternative therapies
3 : occurring or succeeding by turns : alternate sense 1

alternative

noun

Definition of alternative (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a proposition or situation offering a choice between two or more things only one of which may be chosen a government facing the alternative of high taxes or poor highways
b : an opportunity for deciding between two or more courses or propositions the alternative of going by train or by plane
2a : one of two or more things, courses, or propositions to be chosen The menu offered several vegetarian alternatives.
b : something which can be chosen instead The only alternative to intervention.
3 : alternative rock music a fan of alternative

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Other Words from alternative

Adjective

alternatively adverb
alternativeness noun

Synonyms for alternative

Synonyms: Noun

choice, discretion, druthers [dialect], election, liberty, option, pick, preference, selection, volition, way

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Choose the Right Synonym for alternative

Noun

choice, option, alternative, preference, selection, election mean the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen. choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely. freedom of choice option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed. the option of paying now or later alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility. equally attractive alternatives preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections. a preference for cool weather selection implies a range of choice. a varied selection of furniture election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment. doing a tax return forces certain elections on you

Examples of alternative in a Sentence

Adjective

Scientists are developing an alternative approach to treating the disease. He developed an alternative design for the new engine.

Noun

We decided to leave since our only other alternative was to wait in the rain. I was offered no alternative. The menu offered several vegetarian alternatives.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Meat-free diets have come a long way, with a variety of alternative options. Lisa Drayer, CNN, "They might be better for the planet, but are plant-based burgers good for you?," 9 Aug. 2019 Younger siblings are less sure of their parents’ view and therefore more often choose alternative paths in life. Corinna Hartmann, Scientific American, "Does Birth Order Affect Personality?," 8 Aug. 2019 Basically assuring fat bankrolls for bookies in the seedy underworld and leaving the legal operations our state is sandwiched by in New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island as alternative options. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Free of federal restraints for more than a year, Connecticut remains unable to establish regulated sports gambling," 4 Aug. 2019 The Lyft bike isn’t the first incident involving alternative transit options going up in flames. Sophia Kunthara, SFChronicle.com, "Lyft pulls electric bikes from streets after one catches fire," 31 July 2019 The district recently moved all its alternative education programs to one location, and will consider the vacant school site, Ocean Shores, for possible future uses including sale, lease or joint use, Jennings said. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside schools face fiscal crisis," 26 July 2019 Burgers are all about the meat, so use them as an opportunity to experiment with flavorful, alternative options like lamb or duck. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Grind Your Own Meat Without a Meat Grinder," 12 Mar. 2019 Delgado-Gonzalez received four years in the Department of Correction with no chance for an alternative program, plus one year of probation. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Uncle sentenced in shooting death of 4-year-old East Chicago boy," 2 July 2018 According to Southwest Key's website, the non-profit works to provide education through charter schools, incarceration alternative programs and safe shelter to youth around the nation. Nicole Aimone, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Anselmo Villarreal says he won't step down from Southwest Keys board: 'We need to be united'," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Internationally, HarmonyOS will face the same problems that felled Windows Phone and Tizen and other aspiring Android and iOS alternatives: Without apps, no one buys the devices. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Huawei's HarmonyOS Is No Android Replacement," 9 Aug. 2019 The vote also prompted a discussion about measuring city staff time, since Pietig mentioned an alternative to the additional cost recovery fee would be to bill the Laguna Beach Co. for all staff hours devoted to the projects. Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach to recover all of its costs related to processing a slew of major developments," 7 Aug. 2019 In New York, the law was backed by the Humane Society of the United States and opposed by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, which argued declawing should remain an option when the alternative is abandonment or euthanasia. orlandosentinel.com, "Declawing cats would be largely outlawed under Florida bill," 2 Aug. 2019 The alternative is getting the Medicare for All package at a zero premium. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Private Insurance Can’t Survive Under Kamala Harris’ Healthcare Plan. Here’s Why," 1 Aug. 2019 Other alternatives are to use slug lines or take VRE during the work stoppage. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "Bus driver work stoppage impacts Northern Virginia commuters," 1 Aug. 2019 Numerous other would-be alternatives to the former vice president, like Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and Mr. Buttigieg, have their admirers but have yet to catch fire with voters in the early nominating states. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Debates Identify Plenty of Democratic Divisions, but Not a Consensus Favorite," 1 Aug. 2019 While waiting for the media companies to come to an agreement, AT&T suggests other viewing alternatives for KOIN, including watching over the air on Channel 6, streaming from the station website, or CBS.com, or streaming shows via CBS All Access. oregonlive.com, "CBS shows disappear from DirecTV as customers fume over contract dispute: ‘Fix it or I am gone’," 21 July 2019 Marquee players in recent seasons have enjoyed a new degree of influence over salary issues, leaving franchises without many alternatives other than opening up their pocket books. Jacob Bogage, chicagotribune.com, "NFL players’ union rejects the latest proposal for an 18-game season," 14 July 2019

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

Adjective

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for alternative

Adjective

see alternate entry 1

Noun

see alternate entry 1

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Statistics for alternative

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alternative

The first known use of alternative was in 1540

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More Definitions for alternative

alternative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alternative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: offering or expressing a choice
: not usual or traditional
: existing or functioning outside of the established society

alternative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alternative (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that can be chosen instead of something else : a choice or option

alternative

adjective
al·​ter·​na·​tive | \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv How to pronounce alternative (audio) \

Kids Definition of alternative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: offering or expressing a choice alternative plans

Other Words from alternative

alternatively adverb I'll drive or, alternatively, we could walk.

alternative

noun

Kids Definition of alternative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a chance to choose between two things We had to move. There was no alternative.
2 : one of the things between which a choice is to be made As it got dark, our best alternative was to find shelter.

alternative

adjective
al·​ter·​na·​tive | \ ȯl-ˈtər-nət-iv, al- How to pronounce alternative (audio) \

Medical Definition of alternative

: of, relating to, or based on alternative medicine alternative therapies

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alternative

adjective
al·​ter·​na·​tive | \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv, al- How to pronounce alternative (audio) \

Legal Definition of alternative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : offering or expressing a choice an alternative contract — see also alternative pleading at pleading sense 1b
3 : existing or functioning outside the established system also : different from the usual or conventional alternative sentencing

alternative

noun

Legal Definition of alternative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a proposition or situation offering a choice between two or more things only one of which may be chosen
2a : one of two or more things, courses, or propositions to be chosen
b : something which can be chosen instead
in the alternative
1 : for or as an alternative asked for specific performance, or in the alternative, damages of $20,000 a new trial may be asked for in the alternative
2 : in such a way that offers a choice the relief sought…may include relief in the alternativeFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(a) plead in the alternative

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Comments on alternative

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