alternative

adjective
al·​ter·​na·​tive | \ ȯl-ˈtər-nə-tiv How to pronounce alternative (audio) , al- \

Essential Meaning of alternative

1 : offering or expressing a choice We have alternative [=other] plans in case the weather is bad. an alternative explanation See More ExamplesWe took an alternative route [=a different route] to avoid the traffic. Scientists are developing an alternative approach to treating the disease.Hide
2 : not usual or traditional alternative rock music He developed an alternative design for the new engine. alternative medicine [=methods of healing or treating disease that are different from the usual methods taught in Western medical schools]
3 : existing or functioning outside of the established society an alternative newspaper alternative lifestyles

Full 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 Two of my favorite alternative ways to pair bacon with sweetness is to make candied bacon and bacon jam. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Oct. 2021 As the segment of the population that is not religious at all grows, more young people are finding alternative ways to connect with each other. AZCentral.com, 26 Sep. 2021 Although pharmaceuticals make up the bulk of the growing armamentarium against autoimmune diseases, some of the most intriguing additions explore alternative ways to restore balance in the body. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2021 An adjacent movement, #SubOffTwitch, has also gained traction to give viewers alternative ways to support their favorite creators without using the tools available through Twitch. Emily Adams, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2021 Black, Latino, and brown populations are less likely to receive disaster aid, and the rise of informal mutual-aid networks and local translation efforts offer alternative ways to show up. Lovely Umayam, Wired, 23 Aug. 2021 Echoing a sentiment that police have stressed for months, Hampton said people need to find alternative ways to handle arguments. J.d. Capelouto, ajc, 23 Aug. 2021 People assume a momentary blank signifies indifference, so offer an alternative explanation. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Aug. 2021 Without an alternative explanation of how and why today’s economy is booming, voters will hold onto their preexisting models and will fail to connect their higher paychecks to the policy choices progressives have made over the past two years. Mike Konczal, The New Republic, 4 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The leading alternative to listening to Spotify among the cool kids is vinyl records. Wired Staff, Wired, 15 Oct. 2021 Another intriguing alternative is what's known as a sale-leaseback transaction. Next Avenue, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 One alternative for raising revenues would be to impose a carbon tax. Matthew Daly And Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Sep. 2021 One alternative would be a sharp cutoff at or near the $400,000 point rather than the current gradual phaseout. Richard Rubin, WSJ, 28 Sep. 2021 Any alternative would be a disaster for Biden and the Democrats. Julian Zelizer, CNN, 25 Sep. 2021 Shafer says that one alternative to consider is Sculptra Aesthetic, an injectable that helps boost your body’s natural collagen. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 Sep. 2021 This time, a streaming alternative may be possible. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, 16 Sep. 2021 However, new research indicates that this energy alternative could actually be worse than burning coal. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near alternative

alternation of generations

alternative

alternative cost

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Statistics for alternative

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alternative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alternative. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for alternative

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on alternative

Nglish: Translation of alternative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alternative for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about alternative

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