alternative

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

choice, discretion, druthers [dialect], election, liberty, option, pick, preference, selection, volition, way

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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

The Niro is a family of electrified cars under Kia’s EcoDynamics sub-brand of alternative-fuel vehicles. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018 The area was being used as overflow parking for the graduation for Perry Career Academy, an alternative high school in Jonesboro. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Police still asking ‘who fired the fatal shot’ in killing after Clayton County graduation," 6 June 2018 Commissioners also voted on Wednesday to take over sponsorship of DeLaSalle, an alternative charter school that was facing financial trouble. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "KC girls-only charter school gets approval to open in 2019," 30 May 2018 Russia has long denied that any of its military equipment ever crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, and the Russians presented several alternative scenarios—including blaming the downing of the airliner on a Ukrainian Air Force pilot. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Russian unit, GRU officer linked to 2014 shoot-down of airliner over Ukraine," 25 May 2018 Companies had the option of presenting alternative scenarios, but few chose to. Harold Brubaker, Philly.com, "What the CEO-worker pay ratio tells us about Philly's publicly traded firms," 15 May 2018 In 1994, Mark Ridley-Thomas, then a city councilman and now one of the county supervisors pushing for the use of eminent domain, sought affordable housing, senior housing, an alternative high school and a government building. Angel Jennings, latimes.com, "Government wants to take blighted property neglected after L.A. riots; owner objects," 23 Apr. 2018 The district had also proposed to shuffle the locations of its alternative behavior schools, including Minor Daniels Academy and Breckenridge Metropolitan High School. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "JCPS is bringing its newcomers closer together, and other changes to come next school year," 27 Mar. 2018 Grand Central Bowling also has agreed to throw bowling parties for three alternative Portland schools: Rosemary Anderson High School, Carpe Diem Education, and Fir Ridge Campus. Aimee Green, OregonLive.com, "Grand Central Bowl will pay back customers who were charged 'hidden' 2% fee," 17 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Especially when there are alternatives, like paper straws. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "A splash of cold water on straw-ban fervor: Many people with disabilities need them," 13 July 2018 The alternatives, including U.S. supplies, are more expensive. Jonathan Lemire And Jill Colvin, Houston Chronicle, "Trump rattles NATO, knocking its value, assailing Germany," 12 July 2018 In a country like ours, where education is ruled by the government and there are no alternatives, teaching a child something that is contrary to their faith is a violation of free will. Mario J. Pentón, miamiherald, "Gay marriage does not fit in a Communist country, Cuban Evangilicals say," 8 July 2018 But, for those wary of Uber's past actions, there are plenty of alternatives, like using competing apps such as Gett (which offers flat fee pricing) and MyTaxi (which connects you to a black cab). Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Uber Wins Right to Drive in London," 26 June 2018 The alternatives, including U.S. supplies, are more expensive. Jonathan Lemire And Jill Colvin, Houston Chronicle, "Trump rattles NATO, knocking its value, assailing Germany," 12 July 2018 Paper goods, the most likely alternative to EPS, create more waste and water and air pollution than EPS does. Camille Harmer, Fortune, "How Banning Plastic Straws Could Make Pollution Even Worse," 12 July 2018 Though there are alternatives to detention – like using ankle monitors or community supervision – that have proven to be successful and cost-effective, the Trump administration is focused primarily on locking migrants up. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Returns to ‘Catch and Release’ for Migrant Families – But Maybe Not for Long," 11 July 2018 The alternatives, including U.S. supplies, are more expensive. Washington Post, "Trump rattles NATO, knocking its value, assailing Germany," 11 July 2018

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

see alternate entry 1

Noun

see alternate entry 1

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Statistics for alternative

Last Updated

26 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alternative

The first known use of alternative was in 1540

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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 \

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- \

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- \

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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