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

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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 What’s changed since Shaw’s childhood is that today, classical music is alternative. Jonathan Gharraie, The Atlantic, "Can Caroline Shaw Make Classical Cool?," 13 Feb. 2021 Secondly, alternative diploma pathways were made available to all students instead of only students in special education, and third, the state expanded credit recovery efforts. al, "Alabama high school graduation rate for class of 2019 hits 92%," 15 Dec. 2020 Arista Records has named Nick Petropoulos senior vp, promotion and head of pop and alternative radio. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Executive Turntable: Former RCA Co-Prez's New Venture, Universal Music Names Russia Chief," 22 Jan. 2021 Now mostly relegated to less popular and alternative apps, the events are more difficult for other extremists to find but also for law enforcement and researchers to track. NBC News, "As law enforcement braces for more violence, state capitols come into focus," 14 Jan. 2021 Instead, business leaders have realized that adopting new and alternative workplace strategies can provide employees with the most valuable benefit of all: flexibility. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "2020 has been the worst. But these work changes are sticking around," 22 Dec. 2020 Coldplay won best rock, Haley Williams got best alternative and Little Mix was named best pop. Lindsey Bahr, USA TODAY, "BTS takes home four trophies, Lady Gaga is best artist at MTV Europe Music Awards," 9 Nov. 2020 Coldplay won best rock, Haley Williams got best alternative and Little Mix was named best pop. Lindsey Bahr, Star Tribune, "BTS, Lady Gaga win top awards at MTV Europe Music Awards," 8 Nov. 2020 The tenuous fate of the ACA and the lack of a Republican alternative plan leaves millions of Americans on edge. Joshua Adams, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court watchers worry Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘originalism’ could uphold racist policies," 30 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For months, a kind of informal influence campaign has been underway, in which prominent investors and tech executives have embraced Bitcoin—at times as a form of digital gold, in other cases as an alternative to the U.S. dollar. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Tesla’s Bitcoin Buy Is a Reckless, Destructive Troll," 8 Feb. 2021 When the weather turns especially nasty, Zoom classes are offered as an alternative. Siobhan Burke New York Times, Star Tribune, "Undeterred by winter, ballet classes move outdoors," 5 Feb. 2021 Up until recently, WestJet has been promoting sunny getaways as an alternative to hunkering at home; Sunwing introduced its #SafeWithSunwing campaign last year. Courtney Shea, refinery29.com, "What You Need To Know About Canada’s New Travel Restrictions," 1 Feb. 2021 Apprenticeships have been around nearly as long as work itself, but in recent years policymakers on both sides of the aisle have begun to embrace them as an alternative to four-year college. Caroline Preston, USA TODAY, "'You don't say things': The jobs where sexual harassment and discrimination never stopped," 31 Jan. 2021 As an alternative, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate is preparing to enter into negotiations. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "'That’s not a way of working together': Manchin reacts to Harris’s TV appearance in his state," 30 Jan. 2021 Everyone who taste-tested preferred the flavor of the traditional custard-style version, but loved the coconut milk as an alternative for those avoiding dairy. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, "2 ways to whip up a comforting batch of tapioca pudding: classic and dairy-free," 28 Jan. 2021 Kathryn Eron, a mental health researcher at Denver Health Medical Center in Colorado, says that their mental health facilities have been using blankets as an alternative to medication. Popular Science, "What the science actually says about weighted blankets," 26 Jan. 2021 The new drug is administered as a monthly injection and can be used as an alternative to daily antiretroviral pills. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The FDA Just Approved the First Long-Acting HIV Treatment," 22 Jan. 2021

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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alternative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alternative. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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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