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 Juddery, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 14 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 Crossen, Charleston Gazette, 6 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 Macaskill, Guardian, 16 Dec. 2004 … it is written as a chronology of curiosities that adds up to an alternative history of the world.— Johan Jaaffar, New Straits Times, 19 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 Siegal, Boston Globe, 18 Sept. 2005
Keep scrolling for more
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
Words at Play
Ask the Editors
- Why is there a 'd' in 'fridge' but not in 'refrigerator'?
- 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'?
- Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice?