Thesaurus

alter

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of alter

1 to make different in some way
  • can't you alter your plans just slightly so we can leave 10 minutes earlier?

Synonyms for alter

Words Related to alter

Antonyms for alter

2 to remove the sex organs of
  • contends that cats and dogs that have been altered make better pets

Synonyms for alter

Words Related to alter

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About alter

How is the word alter different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of alter are change, modify, and vary. While all these words mean "to make or become different," alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity.

slightly altered the original design

When is it sensible to use change instead of alter?

In some situations, the words change and alter are roughly equivalent. However, change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another.

changed the shirt for a larger size

In what contexts can modify take the place of alter?

The synonyms modify and alter are sometimes interchangeable, but modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose.

modified the building for use by the disabled

When might vary be a better fit than alter?

Although the words vary and alter have much in common, vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition.

vary your daily routine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alter

Time Traveler for alter

Time Traveler

The first known use of alter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for alter

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alter.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/alter. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on alter

Dictionary: Definition of alter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alter

Medical Dictionary: Definition of alter

Spanish Central: Translation of alter

Nglish: Translation of alter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alter

What made you want to look up alter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!