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

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 Some of the players that decided to wear an alternative name of the back of their jerseys include: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, and Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter. Fox News, "LeBron James, Anthony Davis won't wear social justice message on jerseys," 14 July 2020 The Legislature does not intend to recess or transition to remote voting, but alternative arrangements will be made for lawmakers who feel at risk. USA TODAY, "Bull riding, Whac-a-Mole, prisoner release: News from around our 50 states," 14 July 2020 The toll plan was widely opposed in coastal Alabama, and alternative plans haven’t been fully endorsed by local and state officials. al, "Can Jeff Sessions roar back into Senate, or will Trump ruin an otherwise perfect political career?," 10 July 2020 Meanwhile, others pushing the boycott promoted alternative brands and shared recipes for Goya favorites, such as adobo seasoning. Washington Post, "Goya’s CEO said the U.S. is ‘truly blessed’ with President Trump. Latinos are now boycotting.," 10 July 2020 National Grid, which proposed the New York pipeline, has discussed trucking in oil and gas as an alternative delivery system. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Environmental regulations bring a halt to two major oil and gas pipelines," 9 July 2020 In case of inclement weather, an alternative date will be arranged with the winning bidder. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, "Everything But The House to auction off unique arts experiences," 9 July 2020 But as the virus spread across the world and continued to kill men in greater numbers, alternative explanations proliferated, and references to intrinsic female biology—estrogen, the X chromosome—became more common. Grace Huckins, Wired, "Covid Kills More Men Than Women. Experts Still Can’t Explain Why," 9 July 2020 In a press conference with Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry, Scalise and Perry proposed an alternative approach, creating separate COVID-19 facilities for those discharged from the hospital. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Supreme Court rules on Trump financial records," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Virtual tours can provide a safe alternative to traditional home showings and open houses during the pandemic. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Buying a Home? 7 Essential Tips for Getting the Most from Virtual Home Tours," 13 July 2020 Some districts will be all-in on in person learning, but many are creating a fully-online curriculum that could provide a remote alternative for parents who are worried about sending their child back in person. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "What to know about e-schools, as pandemic prompts more traditional schools to offer online programs," 13 July 2020 Other credit card loyalty programs aren’t an alternative. Scott Burns, Dallas News, "Scott Burns: As our world changes, our money habits will, too," 11 July 2020 After young startups like Chingari and Mitron, now 25-year-old media heavyweight Zee Entertainment is joining the race to be an alternative to the Chinese short-form video app that was banned in India on June 29. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "A 25-year-old media conglomerate is joining the race to become India’s TikTok," 10 July 2020 DeVos argued that having part-time instruction to allow for fewer students in the classroom is not an acceptable alternative. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "'Students across the country have already fallen behind': Betsy DeVos says schools 'must' reopen in fall," 7 July 2020 That's why the group wanted to provide an alternative for monolingual Spanish speakers. Taylor Romine, CNN, "Transgender advocacy group launches Spanish language hotline service," 4 July 2020 Ethanol is also the easiest and cheapest alternative since it is produced from the distillation of corn. Lorena Villanueva-almanza, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana distilleries step up to produce hand sanitizer during coronavirus pandemic," 2 July 2020 Candlelight Coffeehouse At once a lounge with deep velvet sofas, a bar with coffee or booze to suit your mood and a full-service restaurant, Candlelight Coffeehouse is an alternative to the party life of the St. Mary’s Strip. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "5 San Antonio restaurants for great meatloaf," 2 July 2020

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

borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French alternatif "occurring by turns, alternating," borrowed from Medieval Latin alternātīvus, from Latin alternātus, past participle of alternāre "to ebb and flow, act in alternation, arrange in alternating order" + -īvus -ive — more at alternate entry 1

Noun

borrowed from French & Medieval Latin; French alternative, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin alternātīva, noun derivative from feminine of alternātīvus "occurring by turns" — more at alternative entry 1

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Time Traveler for alternative

Time Traveler

The first known use of alternative was in 1540

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Statistics for alternative

Last Updated

28 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alternative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alternative. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for alternative

alternative

adjective
How to pronounce alternative (audio)

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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