alternative history

noun

Definition of alternative history

1 : fiction that is based on history and that explores what might have happened if certain historical events, figures, etc., had been different
  • Kennedy surviving the assassination attempt is a popular event of alternative history, inspiring novels, stage plays and short stories.
  • —Mark JudderySydney (Australia) Morning Herald14 Nov. 2004
  • The key to all alternative histories is the so-called point of divergence—the moment imagination takes over from reality, or at least recorded history.
  • —Cynthia CrossenCharleston Gazette6 Feb. 2005
called also alternate history
2 : a history that is told from an unusual or unorthodox perspective
  • Most Scots are brought up on such stories of martial tradition. … But there is an alternative history, though one heard less often.
  • —Ewen MacaskillGuardian16 Dec. 2004
  • … it is written as a chronology of curiosities that adds up to an alternative history of the world.
  • —Johan JaaffarNew Straits Times19 July 2008
  • There is an alternative history of Dylan … that of an opportunist who stole from Guthrie, Dave Van Ronk, and everyone else with whom he came in contact, all in the pursuit of greater celebrity.
  • —Ed SiegalBoston Globe18 Sept. 2005

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First Known Use of alternative history

1903


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