1

alternative

play
adjective al·ter·na·tive \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv , al- \

Definition of alternative

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 1

alternatively

adverb

alternativeness

noun

Examples of alternative in a Sentence

  1. Scientists are developing an alternative approach to treating the disease.

  2. He developed an alternative design for the new engine.

Recent Examples of alternative from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of alternative


2

alternative

noun

Definition of alternative

1 a :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
2 a :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

Examples of alternative in a Sentence

  1. We decided to leave since our only other alternative was to wait in the rain.

  2. I was offered no alternative.

  3. The menu offered several vegetarian alternatives.

Recent Examples of alternative from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of alternative

Synonym Discussion of alternative

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

ALTERNATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

alternative

play
adjective

Definition of alternative for English Language Learners

  • : offering or expressing a choice

  • : not usual or traditional

  • : existing or functioning outside of the established society


alternative

noun

Definition of alternative for English Language Learners

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


ALTERNATIVE Defined for Kids

1

alternative

play
adjective al·ter·na·tive \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv \

Definition of alternative for Students

:offering or expressing a choice
  • alternative plans

alternatively

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

2

alternative

noun

Definition of alternative for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

alternative

play
adjective al·ter·na·tive \ ȯl-ˈtər-nət-iv, al- \

medical Definition of alternative

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

Law Dictionary

1

alternative

play
adjective al·ter·na·tive \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv, al- \

legal Definition of alternative

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

2

alternative

noun

legal Definition of alternative

1 :a proposition or situation offering a choice between two or more things only one of which may be chosen
2 a :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 alternative
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(a)
  • plead in the alternative


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