Synonyms & Antonyms of alternative

(Entry 1 of 2)

the power, right, or opportunity to choose
  • there's no alternative: we must cross the stream to reach our destination

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Synonyms & Antonyms of alternative (Entry 2 of 2)

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Frequently Asked Questions About alternative

How does the noun alternative contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of alternative are choice, election, option, preference, and selection. While all these words mean "the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen," alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility.

equally attractive alternatives

When can choice be used instead of alternative?

The words choice and alternative are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely.

freedom of choice

In what contexts can election take the place of alternative?

The synonyms election and alternative are sometimes interchangeable, but election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment.

doing a tax return forces certain elections on you

When is option a more appropriate choice than alternative?

The meanings of option and alternative largely overlap; however, option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed.

the option of paying now or later

When would preference be a good substitute for alternative?

While in some cases nearly identical to alternative, preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections.

a preference for cool weather

Where would selection be a reasonable alternative to alternative?

The words selection and alternative can be used in similar contexts, but selection implies a range of choice.

a varied selection of furniture

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Time Traveler for alternative

Time Traveler

The first known use of alternative was in 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Alternative.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on alternative

Nglish: Translation of alternative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alternative for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about alternative


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